In the midst of the Pope Francis frenzy, Bob Aube has found a solution to at least one logistical headache during the pope’s visit to Philadelphia Sept. 26-27 — particularly regarding transportation.
His website PopeBus.com will use school buses to pick up people at 52 park-and-ride lots throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware, and drive the people to their designated SEPTA Regional Rail station for the train ride into center city.
The service eliminates train passengers’ need to get a ride to their station or rely on limited parking options at the stations. Those include the following: Pennbrook, Norristown Transportation Center, Media, Levittown, Woodbourne, Eastwick and Wilmington. (See an interactive map of the entire SEPTA system.)
Prices for the PopeBus.com service range from $15 to $49 for round-trip bus tickets, depending on distance. Special one-day passes for traveling the Regional Rail lines during the papal visit are also available as a package purchase with the bus fare.
SEPTA announced it will offer the special passes this weekend at most Regional Rail stations that will be open during the papal visit from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, and Sunday, Sept. 20. Jefferson and Suburban Stations in center city will also sell the passes.
The PopeBus.com service was launched Sept. 11 by Aube, cofounder of RYDE, a busing system for large-scale events.
“The World Meeting of Families will bring an unprecedented number of people to the parkway, and RYDE is looking to use our service platform to alleviate the strain that massive level of daily visitors will put on the transportation system,” said Aube.
He added that SEPTA “has lots of tickets left, but there is limited parking at the stations in comparison to the number of train tickets sold … and hence our innovative partnership.”
As of Sept. 16 there were 100 buses reserved for the shuttle system through the school bus company FirstStudent, according to Aube.
Buses will make two runs in both the morning and the afternoon. For Saturday, Sept. 26, buses will leave at approximately 7 and 10 a.m., and will leave Philadelphia at approximately 7:30 and 10 p.m.
The Sunday buses are scheduled to leave a little earlier, around 6:30 and 9:30 a.m., and will also leave Philadelphia around 7:30 and 10 p.m.
“There will be multiple buses, and once they are lined up and filled, they will leave,” Aube said. “This will be a really viable option for people to realize that they don’t have to go near the train station, where thousands of cars will be, in order to take the train into the city.”
Tickets for the shuttle buses can be purchased at PopeBus.com.
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