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The Guide to Getting Around Philly During the Papal Visit

Feature Image Via Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales) / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Whenever Philadelphia can land a national convention or event it’s a pretty big win for the city.  Currently, large draws such as Made in America and the Army-Navy Game bring in crowds that can swell into the tens of thousands.  However, the upcoming Papal visit is expect to dwarf these events to become the largest event in Philadelphia’s history according to Mayor Nutter.

With 1.5 million people expected to flood Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families September 22nd-2th, Philadelphia will essentially double its population in less than one week.  So how will you be affected by the influx of and iron clad security expected to grip the city?  Well for starters it goes without saying that roads and public transportation will be significantly altered. Here is a list of major transportation changes.



  • During the World Meeting of Families convening, September 22-25, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will operate all services on normal weekday schedules. During the Papal Visit on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27, service will be truncated drastically throughout the rail network to accommodate the events and maximize operational efficiency.
  • SEPTA will reduce the number of stations that will be used from the usual 282 to 31 on its Regional Rail, Market-Frankford Line subway/elevated, Broad Street Line subway, trolley lines and Norristown High Speed Line.  (The 31 stations are boarding locations only and are shown as blue dots on the SEPTA system map attached.) Event drop-off locations in Center City will be announced at a later date.
  • A special $10, three-day SEPTA transit pass, valid from Saturday, September 26 through Monday, September 28, will be sold for travel on subways, buses and trolleys. Standard SEPTA passes and tokens can also be used on these transit modes.   For Regional Rail, a one-day special event pass valid for Saturday, and another valid for Sunday, will be sold for $10 each in advance.


Regional Rail

At this time, SEPTA plans to operate pick-up only service at these specific stations:

    • Paoli/Thorndale Line – Paoli and Radnor Stations
    • Norristown/Manayunk Line – Norristown Transportation Center
    • Chesnut Hill West Line  – Chestnut Hill West Station
    • Lansdale/Doylestown Line – Lansdale and Fort Washington Stations
    • Warminster Line – Warminster Station
    • West Trenton Line – Woodbourne Station
    • Fox Chase Line – Fox Chase Station
    • Trenton Line – Croydon and Cornwells Heights Stations
    • Media/Elywn Line –  Media and Primos Stations
    • Wilmington/Newark Line – Wilmington and Marcus Hook Stations
    • Airport Line –  Terminals C & D, Terminal B and Eastwick Station


Broad Street Line: 

  • Pick-up service will operate northbound from AT&T Station only; southbound pick-up service will be available at Fern Rock Transportation Center and the Cecil B. Moore Station, with drop-offs at yet-to-be-determined Center City stations.  Riders will not be able to board or exit the Board Street Line from any of the other stations.



  • Operating normal service:  Route 15 Service from 63rd & Girard; Route 11 and 13 service from Darby Transportation Center; Route 34 Trolley service from 61st & Baltimore; Route 36 Service from 60th & Eastwick. There will also be service from a limited number of stations on the Norristown High Speed Line and Route 101 Media and Route 102 Sharon Hill Trolley Lines.



  • At least 26 buses in the Center City and surrounding areas will be on detours due to street closures. Select bus routes will operate on weekday schedules throughout the weekend to accommodate ridership increases.



The Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) will provide express, non-stop service westbound to Center City Philadelphia on September 26-27 between each of the following four New Jersey stations and 9th/10th & Locust Streets station:

  • Lindenwold
  • Woodcrest
  • Ferry Avenue
  • Broadway/Camden/ Walter Rand Transportation Center


  • Passengers can board only at these four stations and all passengers will disembark at 9th/10th & Locust Streets station in Philadelphia.  There will be no PATCO service or operations at any station other than those above.
  • For the return trip eastbound to New Jersey, trains will depart 9th/10th & Locust Streets station and stop only at the stations listed above.
  • Special fares will be in effect on September 26-27.  A one-day pass will cost $5.00 and a two-day pass will cost $10.00.  Customers who have FREEDOM cards will be able to pay $2.50 for a one-way single ride.  FREEDOM card one-day and two-day passes can be purchased prior to the dates of travel, beginning in mid-July.
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