Managers at SEPTA's command center at 12th and Market Streets expressed surprise at how smoothly things were running on the first day of the pope's visit. Expecting huge crowds and long lines, for the most part neither materialized.
"It's less than expected volume," said Joe Casey, SEPTA's general manager. "Paoli's been heavy. Some of the of the other stations have been lighter than we expected."
The agency had seen some delays, and there were moments of excitement as dispatchers on the regional rail received information that U.S. Senator Pat Toomey was boarding a train at Lansdale, but otherwise the transit agency had seen few snarls.
Traffic at the city transit system was equally mild. Video monitors at the agency headquarters captured large crowds, some wearing religious garb, at the AT&T Station near the sports complex on the Broad Street Line, but for the most part the Market Frankford and Broad Street Lines were lightly traveled.
By 11 a.m., Patco said it was shifting to a 10-minute departure interval and express trains from the four New Jersey stations to Philadelphia.
"This adjustment is in response to relatively low demand and we are prepared to quickly ramp back up should the demand increase."