Hundreds of Thousands Head Home After Historic Papal Visit

If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like when more than one million people try to leave a city at once, you’d need only to have perched yourself at Amtrak’s 30th Street Station Sunday evening, as visitors and locals began making their way home from the papal visit activities in Center City.

Several locals, like Frankford resident Melanie Joseph, said they were confused by the way SEPTA organized the lines for people to get to the various train routes.

“It’s been ridiculous. I walked all the way from 23rd and Chestnut to get to 30th, and they made us walk all the way back around again to get to the entrance,” she said.

SEPTA ambassadors instructed Joseph and many other riders who approached 30th and Market Street expecting to catch the Market/Frankford El trains to walk on Chestnut Street at Schuylkill toward 31st and enter at 31st and Market; a bit of a roundabout journey.

As the crowds of people began to swell, some travelers took a break, ate snacks and sat on benches near the station. Port Richmond residents Lucy and Edward Drazba were among them.

“We stayed out all day yesterday and did a lot of walking. Today, we waited in line for three hours to get into the event, even with our tickets. So we are very tired," Lucy Drazba said.

Southwest Philadelphia resident Kimberly Campbell said she was not looking forward to the additional walking she’d have to do to get home, due to some of the Market/Frankford El stations being closed.

“It’s been hectic. I did a lot of walking and I’m going to have to do more because the train doesn’t stop at my stop, so I’ll have to walk an extra six blocks when I get off,” Campbell said.

Inside 30th Street Station, and in and around Jefferson station at 11th Street, large crowds of people stood in various lines, hours after the final papal visit event had ended, waiting to catch regional rail trains.

Some took to social media to air their complaints or praise about how SEPTA handled the exodus:

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Left the Parkway at 6:15, home, showered and in my pajamas by 8:45 pm. The transportation plan worked beautifully. Great job city of Philadelphia, Septa and Paoli.

Posted by Peggy Kravitz on 
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