Pope Francis bus tickets in Rome

Rome's bus company ATAC has issued one million tickets bearing the image of Pope Francis greeting crowds from the balcony of St Peter's on the day of his election.

The limited edition tickets go on sale on 27 March and can be purchased at all ticket booths on the Metro underground network as well as in about 200 ticket distributors displaying an image of the new pontiff.

The transport company undertook a similar initiative on the occasion of the beatification of John Paul II when bus tickets were issued bearing the late Polish pontiff's face.

The Pope Francis bus ticket is the latest in what is being described in Rome as "Papa Francesco mania" as the city's traders take advantage of the influx of pilgrims keen to take away a souvenir of the new pope.

It follows the launch of a series of 400 collectable stickers telling the life of Pope Francis. The "Album of Joy", on sale at newsstands across Italy, costs €2.50 while packets of five stickers cost €0.60.