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The Rapid to conduct first round interviews with CEO candidates

The Rapid bus in Grand Rapids

The Rapid’s CEO Search Committee will be conducting first-round interviews on Wednesday, June 13 at 5:30pm and Thursday, June 14 at 8:00am in The Rapid conference room located at 300 Ellsworth Ave SW.

The June 13th format is a 20-minute presentation given by each candidate.  The first five minutes (or less), they will present a biographical sketch of their professional career and accomplishments.  In the remaining 15 minutes, they will present their short-term, 100-day plan, and also a long-term plan with a vision for The Rapid under their leadership as its next CEO.  The June 14th format will be a question and answer session with each of the candidates.

The following are the candidates for first-round interviews and their current positions:

Kimberly Dunham

The Executive Director for the Greater New Haven Transit District with 24 years of public transportation experience

Andrew Johnson

The Chief Operating Officer for the Champaign-Urbana Transit District with 20 years of senior-level management experience in public transportation and the for-profit sector

Brian Pouget

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer for The Rapid with 31 years of executive experience in public transportation

Gary Rosenfeld

The Chief Executive Officer for the Memphis Area Transit Authority with 35 years of experience as a transportation executive, strategist, and advisor

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Grand Rapids Commissioners Approve new Michigan Street Corridor transportation partnership

Route 19

On June 5, 2018, Grand Rapids Commissioners approved a new three-year pilot program partnership with The Rapid and Spectrum Health that will dramatically increase bus service to help reduce traffic and ease parking congestion along the Michigan Street corridor.

“This is a great example of a creative public-private partnership that helps Grand Rapids move closer to being a more sustainable, safe and prosperous city by providing a full range of attractive transportation options and offering incentives to change travel behaviors,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said.

“Enhanced transit operations along the Michigan Street corridor are critical to our efforts to accommodate the trend of increasing traffic, anticipate future land-use changes and support economic investment and new development in a vital business district.”

The pact approved today will significantly improve The Rapid’s Route 19 service that operates along the “Medical Mile” from Michigan Street as well as a section of the near West Side between Bridge and Leonard streets. The route includes stops near such anchor institutions as Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and the Bridge Street Market urban grocery store and cafe under construction by Meijer.

“Leaders of the City, Spectrum Health and The Rapid all have a vested interest in continuing the success of the Michigan Street corridor,” said Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid. “Together, we are committed to ensuring the Medical Mile flourishes as a great place that is an attractive, accessible and convenient destination.”

Highlights of the plan that begins Aug. 27 include:

  • Introducing Route 19 as a no-fare service – similar to the City’s existing no-fare DASH downtown-area shuttle service – by subsidizing the route with approximately $293,000 in annual funding support from each Spectrum Health and the City’s Mobile GR and Parking Services Department. The aim is to reduce traffic and parking congestion along Michigan Street by promoting fare-free ridership, including an awareness and education outreach effort that encourages Spectrum Health staff to use The Rapid to travel between offices and the medical center for meetings vs. driving personal vehicles.
  • Expanding the service to operate 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday to better meet the needs of employees and students. Estimates suggest Route 19 ridership will grow from approximately 54 daily passengers to as many as 800 during the workweek. No weekend service is currently proposed.
  • Increasing the frequency of The Rapid’s Route 19 service. Buses will arrive and depart at stops every 10 minutes during peak hours from 5:20 a.m. to 8:41 a.m. and then again from 3:21 p.m. to 5:41 p.m. During nonpeak hours, buses will stop every 15 minutes.
Maps of the new and proposed routes of The Rapid Michigan Street Route 19

“The Route 19 improvements will benefit the City’s parking customers,” said Josh Naramore, Mobile GR and Parking Services manager. “This proposal offers additional parking options to employees and residents by connecting existing facilities that have capacity on the west side of the river, such as the Scribner Lot and Lots 7, 8 and 9, which have available monthly permit parking for $48 or daily parking ranging from $2 to $4. It also allows us to explore additional park-and-ride investments along the corridor to provide more capacity and options.”

The City Commission’s decision aligns with recommendations in the Michigan Street Corridor Plan. The report notes that even with four lanes in each direction, the Michigan Street path can move about 4,000 cars per day – a volume of traffic that is routinely exceeded at certain times of the day and occasionally poses hazards to emergency vehicle drivers’ ability get through due to gridlock and congestion. Projected development by 2035 predicts the corridor will have 15,000 daytime employees arriving and then leaving over two peak hours, in addition to the creation of up to 10,000 new residential units.

“We are very enthusiastic about this partnership – for Spectrum Health, this plan supplements our long-standing, extensive employee shuttle service as our staff transportation needs continue to grow,” said Rick Redetzke, senior vice president at Spectrum Health. “We are confident this plan will touch people who have never previously considered public transportation and build acceptance of transit as a viable option. This plan also will help Grand Rapids develop lasting solutions to challenges, such as parking, while allowing for long-term growth along the entire Michigan Street corridor, creating jobs and reliable transportation for both workers and people who live along the route.”

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Walk, Roll and Ride Your Way to Bragging Rights for Grand Rapid Active Commute Week

Bus and Bike in Grand Rapids

Are you ready to challenge yourself to a healthier commute and win bragging rights?

Grand Rapids seventh annual Active Commute Week is geared up for another year of encouraging individuals and businesses to give active commuting a try. This year, more than 40 employers are currently enrolled in the 2018 event that kicks off Monday, June 11 running through Friday, June 15.

The goal of Active Commute Week is to raise awareness about the health, economic and environmental benefits of active travel. This week is a chance for individual participants and teams to earn points for using active transportation, including bicycling, walking, riding The Rapid, carpooling, running, long-boarding or inline skating.

The participating list of local employers planning to encourage their employees to walk, roll and ride during Active Commute Week include Brewery Vivant, Williams and Works, Grand Valley State University, Cascade Engineering, Spectrum Health and OST. There are also more than 200 individuals currently signed up to participate and log their commutes.

If you’re looking to get active and join in the healthy competition, it’s fast, easy and free to register! Simply complete the individual form and please note your organization when you sign up if it’s applicable. You will be notified by The Rapid when your account is ready. Participants can track trips on the West Michigan Rideshare website.

The deadline for logging trips is at 12:00 p.m. Friday, June 15, so we can tabulate results. Participants also have the opportunity to log their intended evening trips by noon Friday as well. Aside from logging your trips, don’t miss the events taking place on the final day of Active Commute Week:

Bike to Work Day Pit Stops: June 15th, 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Grab snacks, swag and add some fun to your commute on Friday, June 15! Organizations compete for best support station for those participating in an active morning commute. Check out the list of pit stops to visit for your Friday commute.

Handlebar Happy Hour: June 15th, 4:30p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at The Waldron Public House

Bike, bus, or walk to meet up with other active commuters to wrap up of Active Commute Week! Celebrate your activity and boast about your awesome commuting skills. Door prizes will be up for grabs and Active Commute Week Challenge and Pit Stop winners will be announced.

There’s more than just a pat on the back involved in your success as an Active Commute Week participant. Individuals and employer teams will be awarded for their active commutes based on who logs the highest number of total trips and the highest number of total miles for walking, cycling, riding the bus and carpooling. Prizes include $100 Meijer gift cards, bus passes, bike helmets, and more!

It’s not too late to sign up! Register here.

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Transit-Friendly Events in June 2018

Ride The Rapid to events in June

June is here! Get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. We’ll do the driving.

Free Friday at Blandford Nature Center

On June 1, ride Route 7 to Blandford Nature Center to get an up-close view of animals and nature. From 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., enjoy all that Blandford has to offer for free! Come see the owls, hike the trails or visit the farm all without charge.

Route 7 can get you to the entrance of Blandford Nature Center.

Festival of the Arts

Festival of the Arts is a free three-day community event that takes place in downtown Grand Rapids from June 1-3. This event features several stages of performances, a juried Regional Arts Exhibition, and dozens of food booths run by non-profit organizations. Plus, creative activities for children and adults to enjoy making their own art as well as purchasing art from West Michigan artists. Every purchase at Festival from food to art to t-shirts and posters gives back to the West Michigan community!

Plan your trip to Downtown Grand Rapids here.

GR Asian-Pacific Week

The Grand Rapids Asian Festival is introducing GR Asian-Pacific Week from June 4 – 9! This is a week of special events and celebrations centered on the many Asian-pacific businesses and supporters in the Grand Rapids Area. The week’s events include the Asian Art Exhibition at DeVos Place, An Evening of Bangladeshi Dance and Music at the UICA and so much more. The conclusion of the week will be at Rosa Parks Circle on June 9 with the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival.

Plan your trip to Downtown Grand Rapids here.

Vintage Street Market        

Shop the Vintage Street Market: Grand Rapids’ only monthly vintage market. On the second Sunday of every month (June 10), visit the Downtown Market for some vintage shopping. Whether you are looking for that perfect couture vintage dress or a hand-painted vintage sideboard, the Vintage Street Market is where you’ll find that exciting treasure to complete your collection. This year’s Vintage Street Market is sure to be bigger and better than ever!

Routes 1, 2, the Silver Line and DASH West can get you to the Market.

Relax at Rosa

Every Tuesday in June, visit Rosa Parks Circle for free lunchtime entertainment. This season, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. will once again be highlighting a diverse lineup of local bands and large games to play like chess, shuffleboard and Jenga. Upcoming musicians include Kevin Michael Jones, The Crane Wives and Conrad Shock & the Noise. Participating food trucks include Gettin’ Fresh, What The Truck and Daddy Pete’s BBQ.

Routes 6, 9, 11, 13 and the Silver Line can get you to Rosa Parks Circle. You can also hop on board a DASH route.

Shrek the Musical

From June 1 – 17, visit the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre for a musical comedy. Based on William Steig’s book, Shrek!, and DreamWorks’ beloved 2001 movie, comes a musical adaption of the favorite adventure of Shrek and Donkey. In this mashup of classic fairy-tale characters, Shrek and Donkey begin a quest to save their swamp and confront the evil Lord Farquaad. Conquest, adventure, and love are combined to create a magical, new spin on the classic fairy tales of old. Tickets are $18-37.

Free Community Fitness Classes

Every Monday, enjoy free community yoga at Sixth Street Park! Get fit this spring and summer! The City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department is offering free community fitness classes from June 18 – August 25 throughout the city.  There’s no registration required and all you have to do is show up! Check out class offerings here.

Plan your trip.

Wyoming Concerts in the Park

Tuesdays in June, relax and enjoy music in Lamar Park for the Wyoming Concerts in the Park series! June’s performances include The Porters, Delilah DeWylde, Adams Family, Valentiger and Karie Lynch Band. These concerts are free and family friendly.

Ride Route 24 to get to Lamar Park for the concerts.

Juneteenth

Ride The Rapid to Sigsbee Park on June 30 for a celebration of black culture with Black-owned businesses, organizations that are pillars within the African-American community, and performers.  Juneteenth creates an atmosphere of community support and celebration. Come out for food, fun, prizes and endless amounts of activities provided by the community, for the community! This is a free and family-friendly event.

Route 5 and 6 can get you to Sigsbee Park.

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Motivational Monday: Alternatives in Motion

Alternatives in Motion

For many with an injury or disability, insurance doesn’t always cover all of the equipment required to ensure they are able to remain mobile and independent.  Alternatives in Motion is working to enhance independence through access to mobility equipment in West Michigan.

In 2017, Alternatives in Motion served more than 400 people with disabilities. Their mission is to provide wheelchairs, powered or otherwise, to people who don’t qualify for other assistance, or who can’t obtain the equipment without financial aid.

Alternatives in Motion is always accepting wheelchair donations, both those in need of repair or gently-used. Volunteers opportunities are also available for those willing to help break down and repair power chairs.

By giving people access to these wheelchairs and their repair services, they give people with disabilities the quality of life they deserve.

 

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Bus Operator of the Month: April 2018

Kerry Rapid Bus Operator

Each month, we have the opportunity of honoring a Rapid Bus Operator who has gone above and beyond in their job to keep the community moving. These bus operators are nominated by their peers and awarded by the Transportation Department for their hard work and dedication.

Our Bus Operator of April 2018 is Kerry P.! Here’s what he had to share with us:

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED AT THE RAPID?

I have been with The Rapid for 2.5 years.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR JOB AS A BUS OPERATOR AT THE RAPID?

I enjoy serving The Rapid’s customers! I also love when people compliment me on missing potholes.

WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

I attend church at Rennaissance in Grand Rapids and I’m a member of an awesome male choir.

Congratulations, Kerry! Thank you for all you do.

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The Rapid welcomes Dina Reed as its new Deputy CEO

Dina Reed

The Rapid strengthened its team by welcoming Dina Reed as the Deputy CEO of Finance and Administration in May.

Reed brings a wealth of knowledge and progressive experience in financial planning and analysis to her new position. Prior to joining The Rapid, she has held positions in the public and private transportation, aviation and hospitality industries for nearly two decades.

Most recently, Reed served as the Director of Financial Analysis and Business Finance at Acro Service Corp and Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis at Wayne County Airport Authority. As part of senior management, she has been engaged in everything from strategic planning and corporate goal-setting, to implementing financial management, enterprise asset management and maintenance software. She also held previous finance positions at Northwest Airlines Inc. and Walt Disney World.

She has further demonstrated her commitment to professional development by serving a variety of professional associations and committees, adding to her extraordinary expertise in strategic financial planning and transformational leadership.  Reed’s educational experience includes an MS in Management, Strategy and Leadership from Michigan State University and a BBA in Finance from Eastern Michigan University.

“We are pleased that Dina has joined The Rapid as Deputy CEO of Finance and Administration,” said The Rapid’s CEO Peter Varga. “Her knowledge and experience in leadership and finance give The Rapid a strong position for success both now and in the future.”

Reed will guide The Rapid’s $44 million annual budget and its capital program, as well as direct Finance, Purchasing, Human Resources, Grants & Capital Projects and IT Departments. As Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer, she will guide strategic vision for the agency, while advising stakeholders and directing analysis and planning.

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The Wave Q&A Series: Can multiple people use the same card?

Can you share a Wave card?

Can multiple people use the same Wave card?

Many riders choose to share 10-Ride tickets with their friends and family members.  However, with The Wave, each person tapping to board the bus will need their own card.

Since Wave cards track ridership to give you the best deal for how much you ride, it isn’t possible for one person to share a card with a family member or friend. But don’t worry; The Wave will make riding The Rapid faster and easier for families and people who are currently sharing their tickets.

Manage Multiple Cards Under One Account

Whether you have children who ride The Rapid or just your partner, one of the best benefits of The Wave is the ability to set up one account and manage several Wave cards. You will just need to sign up for a Wave account.  Then you can quickly register your card and set up a funding source.  You can continue to add cards that you can manage under one payment method or several. This will make managing each fare card a breeze.

Get The Best Deal

When you ride The Rapid using your Wave card, you automatically earn the savings of 1-Day, 7-Day, and 31-Day passes, but without the commitment or the upfront cost. You pay your way one trip at a time, and you’ll never pay for a trip you don’t take. The Wave will give you the best deal on your fare based on how much you ride. It’s a ‘pay-as-you-go’ pass: Earn a 1-Day pass after riding twice in one day (spending $3.50), or a 31-Day pass after spending $47 in a 31-day period.

Set Up Auto-Load

For frequent riders and easier card management, auto-load can be set to reload funds to your card when your balance is low. You can set your amounts and never worry about fares again. This feature is especially helpful for managing other cards that you aren’t personally using.

Track Rider History

Another benefit that may be useful to those managing multiple cards is the ability to track rider history. See what bus you’ve boarded and when to stay on top of your fare caps and track travel.

Learn more about The Wave by visiting https://www.ridetherapid.org/the-wave.

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Ride The Rapid to Transit-Friendly Events in May 2018

May 2018 Events

We have our fingers crossed for more sunshine and warm weather this month! The spring forecast also offers another excuse to catch a ride on The Rapid and let us do the driving to your work and play.

May is jam-packed with a variety of activities that all ages will love. Ride the bus to the John Ball Zoo to celebrate the environment, get in some exercise with yoga and make time to relax outdoors at lunch at Rosa Parks Circle. Save a bit of cash while riding with us to events throughout our service area by buying a  One-Day Pass or a 10-Ride Ticket. And don’t forget, all rides on the DASH routes and the Silver Line’s No-Fare Zone won’t cost you a penny.

Here are some events we’re looking forward to this month:

Jewish Film Festival at Celebration! Cinema North

Ride The Rapid to Celebration! Cinema North for the Jewish Film Festival from April 29 through May 3. In its 20th year, this event features comedies, documentaries and dramas with Jewish themes. Tickets are just $6. Don’t forget to stick around after each film to chat with the filmmakers or stars on select events.

Ride Route 15 to Celebration! Cinema North.

Wildflower Walk at Blandford Nature Center

Enjoy the weather and get in touch with nature by riding Route 7 to Blandford Nature Center. On May 7, spend time exploring the lovely spring wood for a walk with Mary Jane Dockery. Other programs in May include a chance to meet the Blandford animals on the 19th.

May Indie Flea Grand Rapids

Shop local vendors at Wealthy Theatre on May 5! With the warm weather finally upon us, this event is taking over the sidewalks for a spring party. Vendors include Silver Moon Soaps, Happy Henna, Ohlala Chocola and so many more!

Routes 5 and 6 can get you to the Wealthy Theatre.

Party for the Planet at John Ball Zoo

Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 510 – 3 pm at the John Ball Zoo. What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with the planet’s amazing and diverse wildlife? Come connect with nature and wildlife at this annual Earth Day event. All activities are included with admission.

Free Community Yoga

Get fit this spring and summer! The City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department is offering free community yoga classes every Wednesday and Saturday at the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Fitness Studio. There’s no registration requires and mats and blocks will be provided if needed.

The Parks and Recreation Office is located within walking distance from Rapid Central Station. Plan your trip.

In Step with Betty Ford: In Celebration of Her Centennial

Visit the Gerald R. Ford Museum to explore the most recent exhibit featuring Betty Ford. She was a Grand Rapids’ Central High graduate, student of dance, New York model, proud mother and Congressman’s wife. First Lady Betty Ford spoke openly about personal and political issues near and dear to her heart; her courage endeared her to the American people as she found herself in step with the times. Admission is $8 for adults. View other admission rates here.

Ride Routes 7, 9, 19 or DASH West.

Vintage Street Market at the Downtown Market

Shop the Vintage Street Market: Grand Rapids’ only monthly vintage market. On the second Sunday of every month (May 13), visit the Downtown Market for some vintage shopping. Whether you are looking for that perfect couture vintage dress or a hand-painted vintage sideboard, the Vintage Street Market is where you’ll find that exciting treasure to complete your collection. This year’s Vintage Street Market is sure to be bigger and better than ever!

Routes 1, 2, the Silver Line and DASH West can get you to the Market.

Annual Heritage Hill Weekend Tour of Homes

Get on board and ride with us to Heritage Hill to explore amazing historic homes and buildings. The 48th Annual Heritage Hill Home Tour opens doors to eight restored private houses and four historic public buildings on Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 20 from 12-6 p.m. Tour turn-of-the-century homes owned by prominent early Grand Rapidians, including and elegant Greek revival, amazingly modern Queen Annes, a Chateaux mansion, a Craftsman beauty, a creatively converted 1900 carriage house, and more await you.

Advance tickets are $18 and available at the Heritage Hill Association office or online. Tickets the weekend of the tour are $25.

Routes 6, 13, 14 and 15 can get you to the Heritage Hill Neighborhood.