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SEPTA Considers Papal Weekend Success, But Reports Losses

By Pat Loeb

PHILADLEPHIA (CBS) -- The Pope's visit, last month, cost SEPTA about four million dollars. The transit agency's figures take into account overtime, equipment costs and lost ridership.

Spokesman Andrew Bush says Septa paid 2.3 million dollars in overtime on the pope weekend and another 1.6 million on materials and equipment for planning and crowd control.

He also says ridership for September was down five percent over the previous September.
Bush says even though ridership on many regional rail lines was five times higher on pope weekend than a normal weekend, it was more than offset by a drop on city transit.

"Things like the road closures and our regular riders not having regular commutes to school," says Bush, "some businesses being closed, brought the numbers down."

But he says that in the context of a 1.3 billion dollar budget, it's a small percent and it comes early enough in the fiscal year to adjust the budget.

So, overall, Septa is happy with the outcome.

"The papal visit for SEPTA was definitely a success and we were happy to play a role and we'll find some ways to offset these costs as we move forward."

Bush says, though, SEPTA hopes for some reimbursement from the Department of Homeland Security and is confident it can make the rest up with budget adjustments by the end of the fiscal year in June.


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