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TICKETS WITH POPE PHOTO

Rome has printed one million bus and metro tickets bearing Pope Francis' silhouette, the city's transport operator said today. Atac said the limited edition tickets will go on sale tomorrow and depicts the Argentinian pontiff as he greeted the crowd from the balcony of St Peter's Basilica just after his appointment on March 13. The tickets are valid for a limited period on all of Rome's bus and metro services. "Atac pays homage to the new pope who appreciates public transport," it said, referring to the Argentinian pontiff's habit of using the bus- and metro system when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires. Rome's mayor Gianni Alemanno welcomed the news. "It's a beautiful initiative," he said. "It's a way of greeting the new pontiff and wish him welcome." Just two weeks into his pontificate, the pope has gained a strong following for his simple and friendly manner, drawing large crowds to the Sunday Angelus prayer in St Peter's Square. Upon the beatification of John Paul II two years ago, Atac launched a similar initiative, issuing limited edition tickets that were adorned with the late pope's portrait.

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