SEPTA to Use Lottery to Resume Sale of Special Tickets for Pope’s Visit

You will have 24 hours to get your chance at a ride to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia.

SEPTA announced Tuesday afternoon their plan to resume online-only sales of one-day Regional Rail passes for Pope Francis' visit to the City of Brotherly Love after sales came to a screeching halt more than a week ago due to technical issues.

In an attempt to open up sales to everyone without putting a huge burden on the system, SEPTA officials announced that the sales will be done via a lottery system.

The lottery will open just after midnight Monday (Aug. 3) on a Ticketleap page posted to and continue until 11:59 that night.

"There's no need to set your alarm clock for midnight and be standing beside your computer so you can log on to enter the lottery," said SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams. "You can do it any time during the day."

FAQs: Buying Your Pope Pass

Anyone who enters the lottery will have an equal chance of getting the $10 passes that are station specific, must be purchased for time windows (5:30 to 8:30 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. to noon) and are limited to 10 passes per person per day on Sept. 26 and 27.

Passengers with "winning entries" will receive a "congratulations" email on Thursday, Aug. 6 with a personalized link that will allow them to complete the sale.

Sales of special SEPTA passes for the Papal visit to Philadelphia during September's World Meeting of Families quickly went off the rail last Monday morning causing the transit agency to suspend sales after only a short period of time. The next day, SEPTA announced they wouldn't resume sales until they could resolve issues with the site.

SEPTA plans to sell 175,000 of the $10 passes for each day (Sept. 26 and Sept. 27) that the Pontiff is in town. An analysis of the activity Monday showed 54,000 customers visited the e-commerce site within the first minute after it was launched, said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch.

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