ABOUT 400,000 people yesterday gunned for 10,000 tickets to hear Pope Francis' remarks on immigration at Independence Mall, only hours after the World Meeting of Families announced a diverse lineup of music and dance for the Sept. 26 event.
The tickets - provided for free on a first-come, first-served basis through the World Meeting website - were gone within two minutes of being available at noon.
The World Meeting site today will make available 10,000 tickets each for the Festival of Families and the papal Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Festival tickets will be available at 4 p.m., Mass tickets at 8 p.m.
Scalpers on websites eBay and Craigslist were selling tickets to the Independence Mall event for as much as $1,500 each and as little as $1 each.
Reporters asked Mayor Nutter about the ticket re-sales during a City Hall news conference yesterday.
"I think that's pretty ignorant, to be honest," he said. "So, Pope Francis comes to Philadelphia to speak on - at least at that location - on immigration and religious freedom. You get a free ticket, then throw it up on a site and try to sell it. At least in the neighborhood where I grew up, that's trifling, just trifling."
Meanwhile, SEPTA yesterday added to the papal-visit news dump, disclosing the opening of additional stops on the Broad Street Line and the Market-Frankford El on Sept. 26 and 27.
Stops in the updated service plan include 8th and 34th streets on the El, along with Snyder, North Philadelphia, Erie and Olney stations on the Broad Street Line, according to a news release.
The two rail lines will have both local and express service between the limited number of available stops. The transit authority also will offer discounts on future rides to weekly and monthly pass-holders for the affected week.
A September monthly TransPass or TrailPass can get riders a $5 credit on an October, November or December pass. A weekly TransPass holder can get a $2 credit toward any weekly pass until the end of December. Weekly TrailPass holders from any zone can receive a $10 credit.
SEPTA expects opening 8th Street station on the El to quicken access to the so-called Francis Festival and to the papal address at Independence Mall.
The World Meeting announced yesterday that nine music and dance acts, including Philly POPS, will play in advance of Pope Francis' remarks before an expected crowd of 30,000 people.
Philly POPS will perform "Fanfare of the Common Man" as the pope takes the stage.
Other scheduled performers include: El Mariachi Flores, Kulu Mele African Dance and Drum Ensemble, Mystic Warriors, Pablo Batista and the Mambo Syndicate, the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, the Polish American Cultural Center, the Vietnamese Fan Dancers of Rowan University and the Tibetan Association of Philadelphia.
- Staff writer Mensah M. Dean
contributed to this report.