SEPTA says it rose to the Mass movement challenge

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 Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA's new general manager, says the transit agency did well in transporting papal pilgrims to events in Center City and home again. (File photo)

Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA's new general manager, says the transit agency did well in transporting papal pilgrims to events in Center City and home again. (File photo)

The new general manager of SEPTA is pleased with the transit agency’s work  in transporting thousands of papal pilgrims to the Sunday Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 

SEPTA  had a major challenge to getting pilgrims to the Mass by rail and subway was a major challenge, and general manager Jeff Knueppel said the system and its workers did the best they could.

“The one place this was a major test was in South Philadelphia,” he said Tuesday. “We had 50,000 people who came onto the system, who came on at ATT [station] and we took them north over several hours — but we took them home in only two and a half [hours].  That Sunday night was an unbelievable experience for us.”

“The Broad Street subway, just in the south end of the system, we moved 40,000 by train and another 8,000 by buses,” Knueppel said. “On the regional rail on Saturday, we had roughly 29,000 and 35,000 on Sunday.”

He reflected back on another major crush of people who crippled the Broad Street subway line as a time SEPTA did not do well.

“When you look back on the Phillies parade in 2008, there were a lot of people who didn’t get where they wanted to,” he said. “This was about surety of travel moreso for us.”

The experience will come in handy for the transit agency next year when it transports thousands for the Democratic National Convention.

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