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Pope Francis blesses DC Metro and its fare cards

By Tomas Monzon
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Pope Francis blesses DC Metro and its fare cards
A woman shows off her Pope Francis t-shirt during a parade for Pope Francis on Constitution Ave. following a State Arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. on September 23, 2015. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Washington, D.C.'s Metro system is issuing fare card sleeves with Pope Francis on them. Also, Metro riders want the Pope's blessing of the system.

Since Monday, Metro has been issuing a free Pope Francis SmartTrip card protective sleeve with any purchase made from any of the transit agency's five sales offices. The sleeve commemorates his Sept. 22 to 24 visit.

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The sleeve will be given for free while supplies last.

The system also wants patrons to have their fare cards loaded and ready upon arriving at Metro stations so as to minimize delays. Thousands of people are expected to use the Metro system during the Pope's visit, and Metro is already running extra trains and suspending track work in anticipation of the crowds.

Now that Pope Francis has blessed fare cards, Metro riders want him to bless their system. A petition launched on Change.org is asking the Pope to bless the transit system in D.C. so that "it actually works."

D.C. Resident Noah Rosenheck opened the petition, saying he's "willing to try anything" to get the subway system to work properly.

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"Maybe a Papal Blessing is just what it needs," the petition reads. As of Tuesday afternoon, 1,412 people have signed the petition.

{linkSubway service was partially suspended on Monday: "http://washington.cbslocal.com/2015/09/21/service-restored-after-fire-stadium-armory-metro-station/" target="_blank"} near the Stadium-Armory Metro station after one of three subway transformers at the RFK Stadium parking lot caught on fire. As work began on the broken transformer, trains operated at lower speeds when passing through the area so as to reduce power draw.

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