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August 10, 2015

SEPTA extends transaction deadline for papal pass winners

Lottery winners can complete their transactions until 3 p.m. Monday

Papal Visit Transportation
SEPTA Train Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

A SEPTA train.

SEPTA extended the deadline for papal pass lottery winners to complete their transactions to 3 p.m. Monday.

Any lottery winners who have not completed their transaction for the special, one-day Regional Rail passes will lose their opportunity to purchase tickets. The original deadline was 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

The transit agency extended the deadline after receiving lower than expected transactions, spokeswoman Jerri Williams said. The extension also gives lottery winners who may have later considered driving a chance to rethink their options.

"Now that they've heard about the road restrictions and the traffic restrictions, there may be an increased interest in using SEPTA that weekend to get into the city," Williams said.

A second round of email notifications will go out Monday night and Tuesday to lottery entrants whose submissions were not initially selected.

SEPTA is selling 350,000 papal passes — the only permissible fare to ride the Regional Rails when Pope Francis visits Philadelphia on Saturday, Sept. 26 and Sunday, Sept. 27. A total of 175,000 passes is being sold for each day at $10 apiece.

At least 22,000 papal passes remained available following last week's lottery, SEPTA previously announced.

Any unsold tickets will go on sale at select regional rail stations at a date yet to be announced, Williams said.

"We're not going to have the actual numbers until Friday," Williams said. "We have a whole second set of people that we're emailing tonight. We won't know how many transactions that were completed until the second group follows through."

Williams also cautioned people against purchasing papal passes from online sellers on eBay and Craigslist, noting that SEPTA might still have passes available following the lottery transactions. She also noted that no one has received their papal passes yet. They are being sent out by mail and could take two to three weeks to deliver.

"Paying for something before they're actually here is something that we would caution everybody about," Williams said. "We don't have a way of monitoring or policing that. ... We would really caution you paying more than face value."

SEPTA will shuttle passengers from 18 stations in an attempt to expedite travel into Center City, where Pope Francis will participate in the Festival of Families on Saturday and host a Sunday afternoon mass. About 1.5 million people are expected to flood the city for the papal visit.

SEPTA initially tried selling the papal passes on a first-come, first-serve basis last month. But the website crashed after thousands of visitors simultaneously tried to purchase passes the moment the online sale began.