Demand for SEPTA Pope Passes Lower Than Expected

Does that mean crowds will be smaller than projected?

What if Pope Francis visited, and not quite everybody came?

Yes, we’ve warned that crowds for the pope’s late-September visit could actually be bigger than the official estimates of 1- to 2 million visitors. But now there’s a reason to believe the crowds will be of much more manageable size:

The agency didn’t get nearly as many entrants into its lottery for regional rail passes for the pope’s visit as expected. Of course, that could also mean that lots of visitors decided not to even bother — and that they’ll be making alternative transportation plans during the weekend.

“SEPTA officials say demand is lower than expected after registration for a lottery, giving commuters the opportunity to buy Regional Rail passes for the pope’s visit to Philadelphia, opened overnight,” 6ABC reported Monday night. Three-hundred-fifty-thousand passes were available for the weekend and it was expected that a lot of entrants would be left empty-handed. Instead, a spokeswoman says, “there may be a possibility that everybody who enters gets a pass.”

“As of 10 p.m. Monday, 33,976 people had entered the online site to order passes for Sept. 26 and 27,” the Inquirer adds. “Each person could order as many as 10 passes for each day, but SEPTA officials did not know Monday evening how many passes had been ordered.”

SEPTA will decide “next week or later” how to sell any passes left over from the lottery.