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The Rapid + WGVU Morning Show: Walk, Ride + Roll for Active Commte Week 2017

Active Commute Week 2017

On May 15, we sat down with Shelley Irwin on the WGVU Morning Show to talk about Active Commute Week taking place June 12 – 16! Michael Bulthuis of The Rapid and Johannah Jelks of She Rides Her Own Way talked about the benefits of walking, riding and rolling for commuting.

Whether it’s by your own two feet, on two wheels or on the bus, active commuting isn’t just good for your health, it’s good for the community and the environment. Active Commute Week is all about encouraging individuals and organizations to challenge themselves to try an active commute for a week. There’s a trip challenge with exciting prizes, pit stops for Bike to Work Day and a final happy hour celebration at Long Road Distillers to close out the event.

REGISTER NOW

It’s fast, easy and free to register by completing the individual form. Don’t forget to 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 theWest Michigan RideShare site. The deadline for logging trips is at 12:00 p.m. Friday, June 16, so we can tabulate results. Participants also have the opportunity to log their intended evening trips by noon on Friday.

Listen here for more details and benefits of Active Commute Week!

Posted in Events on

The Rapid Holds Job Fair to Recruit Bus Operators, Diesel Technicians and Administrative Staff

Rapid Central Station

Help keep your community moving! The Rapid is recruiting for several different job positions. We’re hosting a job fair to find exceptional candidates to join our award-winning team as bus operators, diesel technicians, tire technician and administrative assistant.

The job fair will take place on Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Rapid Central Station’s Community Room on the second floor, which is located at 250 Grandville SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

We offer competitive pay, great benefits, and the opportunity to work with a group of people who take pleasure and pride in making an important difference in the lives of others.

BUS OPERATORS

–  Starting wage is $17.91/hour
–  No experience necessary
–  No CDL necessary
–  Paid training
–  Valid Michigan Driver’s License
– Must have knowledge of the street and road system of the city.
–  Less than 4 pts on your license
–  Fluent in English

DIESEL TECHNICIANS

–  Starting wage is $20.56 + .45 shift premium
–  Second and third shift availability
–  One-year minimum experience
–  Electrical
–  Engine
–  Transmission
–  Brakes
–  Suspension, etc.

TIRE TECHNICIAN

–  Starting wage is $20.56 + .45 shift premium
–  Third shift
–  One-year minimum experience
–  Wheel & tire inventory control
–  Wheel & tire inspections
–  Repair suspension components
–  Wheel bearing adjustments
–  Mounting tires, etc.

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

–  Starting Wage is $13.69 (26-32 hours/week)
–  One-year minimum experience
–  Microsoft Office Suites experience
–  Strong organizational skills
–  Excellent communication skills
–  Responsible for a high volume of filing & scanning
–  Highly confidential environment

JOB FAIR

Date: Saturday, June 3, 2017
Time:  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: Rapid Central Station, Second Floor Community Room
250 Grandville Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

More information on these positions is available online at www.ridetherapid.org. If you can’t make it to these job fairs but are still interested in applying, applications are accepted Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at our Administrative offices located at 300 Ellsworth Avenue SW in Grand Rapids.

The Rapid is an equal opportunity employer and encourages minorities and women to apply.

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Uber + Transit Collaborate to Benefit Rapid Riders

Uber App

Good news for Android Transit app users! Ride-sharing app Uber and real-time public transportation app Transit have collaborated to launch a new feature to benefit Rapid riders.

Uber noticed many of its users are using the service in conjunction with public transportation.On Tuesday, May 16, Uber and Transit launched their collaborative effort to benefit those who appreciate a variety of mobility options in the 47 cities throughout the U.S. Uber now automatically recognizes whenever a rider’s end destination is at or near a public transit stop and displays upcoming departure times.

Get Started

Make sure you have both Uber and the Transit app downloaded on your Android smartphone. Once installed,  tap on the display to open the public transit navigational app for directions, service disruption updates and more.

The hope for this collaboration is to make it easier for people to get from A to B and to eliminate the need to shuffle between various different apps, according to a blog post from Andrew Salzberg, Uber’s head of transportation policy and research.

“At both Uber and Transit, we envision a future in which every journey is shared using a combination of transit options,” Salzberg writes.

The ultimate goal, he writes, is to create better-connected cities, a viable alternative to car ownership and reduced traffic and parking concerns.

“While there’s still much more work to do, we’re excited that our integration with Transit can help us get one step closer to this reality,” Salzberg writes.

Outside of Grand Rapids

The Transit app works with a number of different public transit options in each participating city.

Here in Grand Rapids, it provides real-time data from The Rapid. In Detroit, the app draws information from the Detroit Department of Transportation and Transit Windsor. In Ann Arbor, the app draws its information from The Ride transit service and from U-M Transit.

Though further expansion is expected in the future, Uber’s new service is currently only available on Android devices and only in 47 U.S. metropolitan areas.

 

Posted in Rider Stories on

There’s More to the Ride: Brad’s Story

Brad at the Grand Rapids Ballet

“The Rapid means freedom, independence, self-possession. It gives me the ability to get out in the community, meet other people, be involved and to do the things that I enjoy doing.”

We recognize people know The Rapid as Grand Rapids public transportation system. But there’s more to The Rapid than buses on the street or the bus stops and shelters you see in your neighborhood.

Last year, we provided 11.5 million rides. That’s a big number. It’s easy to forget that every ride is taken by a person, a person with a story. Through our new educational campaign, we are providing glimpses into the lives of a few of our riders. We asked them to share – in their own words – how The Rapid is a part of their lives and a part of the fabric of our community, and now we want to share those stories with you.

Meet Brad, a Grand Rapids citizen, and rider. He uses The Rapid’s fixed-route buses and GO!Bus service to get where he needs to go. When Brad learned that he had a degenerative eye disease, he began looking for a community with a strong public transportation system that could allow him to remain independent. He found that, and so much more, in Grand Rapids.

When Brad learned that he had a degenerative eye disease, he began looking for a community with a strong public transportation system that could allow him to remain independent. He found that, and so much more, in Grand Rapids.

Posted in News on

Bus Operator of the Month: April 2017

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.

Bus Operator Maggie H.

BUS OPERATOR OF APRIL 2017: MAGGIE H.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED AT THE RAPID?

I started my driving career in 1979/80 with the public schools. However, I just celebrated 10 years this past January with The Rapid. That’s a total of 38 years as a driver!

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

I like the passengers best–young, old, rich poor–I have love for them all.

WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

Music of all types is a great backdrop to my life as I grew up in a musical family. I like to sing and play my saxophone when I have the time. Aside from music, I’m an idealist. I’m passionate about imagining a world where people treat each other right, where love prevails.

Congratulations, Maggie! Thank you for all you do.

Posted in Rider Stories on

Rider Stories: I Didn’t Choose the Bike Life. The Bike Life Chose Me.

Bike

The following is written by Ken Miguel Cipriano, a Grand Rapids citizen and Rapid rider.

From biking around Burton Heights with my brother and neighbor in the late 90’s to present day bombing down Division heading downtown on my way to work, biking around town was my first form of alternate mobility. What’s the saying about your first love? You never forget them?

I’ve made it a part of my life to walk, bike, and ride public transit. Sure it saves me a ton, and I mean a ton of money, but that’s not the main reason I do it. I do it in part to relate to my father. Wherever I go I try and retrace my father’s footsteps when he first came to this country, all alone. Whether it’s walking all of Grand Rapids (my father used to walk past 44th street) or walking all of Manhattan. I do it to connect to how my father felt in a foreign land with no money or transportation. I do it to connect to my surroundings.

That’s exactly how it feels when you walk, bike, or take public transit! You see your city with new eyes. You notice the street level features of your block, you notice the different smells certain neighborhoods have, you notice which neighbor is the bravest to start grilling on a 40-degree day in early spring. You start to realize how large your city can be if you literally stop to smell the roses.

So let me drop some knowledge you may or may not know about going carless. When going straight home after work, a rarity, I average about 17 minutes on my bike. That’s Center City to the southside, about three miles in rush hour traffic. Jealous yet? The other nights I have meetings or events to attend I pull out my phone and check the ETA on the bus routes. If I’m going to the westside I like to hop on the DASH and either walk, if I have time, or bring my bike and pedal. Going east is easy so I just hop on the Route 6. Southbound is my favorite because if I miss the Silver Line, I just walk over to the Route 1 and it usually arrives right as I walk up.

Zoning out on the bus is possibly my second favorite thing to do when I’m commuting. Listening to music and just looking out the window or people watching helps me to just unwind and be present. Then there’s jumping on two wheels and going fast!

So you might be thinking to yourself, but Ken how do you bike to work, go to meetings, and do activities? Check the pictures below for my must carry when riding my bike. There is work mode, chill mode, and soccer-mom mode. Also, I’m the captain of a local team for the Grand Rapids Champs League, so I haul all the goodies!

Ken's Bike Bag for Work

Work mode:

   – Converse Chuck’s keep my feet breathing and feel best in my bike’s toe cages.

   – Backpack to keep my laptop, portfolio, and work clothes.

   – Waterproof bag, because getting caught in a downpour really sucks for your gadgets.

   – Boombotix Bluetooth stereo for blasting vibes

   – Gloves to save me from getting road rash again. Never again…never again.

   – Phone holder for checking my phone when friends change plans and send me to the other side of town, thanks, guys…

   – Wallet with my ID, credit card, and 31- day pass, because Division has so much glass that you’re bound to catch flats. Nothing is worse than catching a flat and realizing you either forgot your bus pass or it expired.

 

Ken's Bike Bag
Chill mode:

   – Converse Chuck’s not getting paid to say this they’re just extra comfortable for riding

   – Backpack usually for a sweatshirt and an extra tee

   – Boombotix for playing better music at the light than the car next to me. People don’t play enough 2pac.

   – Gloves

   – Wallet

   – Phone holder

Ken's Soccer Bike Bag

Soccer Mom mode:

   – 150 Liter Base camp waterproof bag

   – Soccer ball, futsal ball, ball pump

   – Futsal shoes, Soft ground cleats, turf shoes, socks

   – 2 one-gallon Gatorade jugs, because we drink at least that much.

   – First aid kit, cones, extra jerseys

   – Gloves

   – Wallet

   – Phone holder

So now you know why you should ride your bike, and I just let you know what you should bring while on your bike, all that’s left is to tell you how to ride your bike around the city. Spoiler alert…go fast.

You can find two kinds of cyclists, one who usually bikes on trails and country roads or the ones who stick to the city. Since I stay away from all the SUV madness on country roads, here are a few tips for riding in the city:

   1. Say goodbye to Midwest Nice: Your safety is of the utmost importance. So be loud and be seen. If you’re driving recklessly around me you’ll hear a loud and long “AAAAYYYYOOOOO!” or “ YO YO YO”. Either way, I try to make sure to be heard, and I’m not afraid to give a car a love tap when they inch over too much.

   2. Move fast. This one might feel counterintuitive but once you’re out on Fulton or Division and you’re pedaling at 5 mph it feels scarier as cars zoom past you because of your relative speed to them. 

   3. Helmet and gloves. You don’t want to gash your head or hands up

If you see me and my 150L bag zipping by in the city be sure not to honk, just roll down your window and give me an “AYO” We need to keep these streets friendly, it’s always good to have another friend and set of eyes out there.

See you on the blacktop.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ken Miguel Cipriano has lived in Grand Rapids since 1990. He works for Silicon Valley-based startup but holds his office here in downtown Grand Rapids. He likes to pull weeds, practice Muay Thai, watch Indie Films, and get in arguments. Ken has slept on a park bench overnight in Boston in the fall and has walked NYC all night because he didn’t have enough money for a hotel. You can see Ken riding down Division on his bike, running around the Southside, or on every bus line across the city.

Learn more about bicycles on The Rapid here.

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to Go: May 2017 Event Guide

Blue bridge grand rapids

April showers bring May flowers, so here’s to hoping for good weather and beautiful blooms all month long. 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 or a fun 5k 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:

1. Party for the Planet at John Ball Zoo

Ride Routes 12 and 50 to visit the John Ball Zoo on Saturday, May 6, for Party for the Planet! This event is a celebration of conservation, recycling and our natural world in honor of Earth Day. Animals that are threatened or endangered will be showcased with ideas on what you can do to help save these valuable species right here in Grand Rapids. Zookeepers will be doing presentations on the conservation field work they are conducting at our local zoo with talks focused on Piping Plovers, Massasauga, Kirtland’s Warbler, Wood turtles and the migratory Monarch butterflies. Click here to learn more about conservation efforts at the Zoo and how you can get involved!This event takes place from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Explore the zoo and meet up with local organizations local organizations that are enabling positive methodologies in the conservation. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for children 2-13 and children under 2 are free.
BONUS: We’ll be there! Stop by our table. 

2. Free Fridays Yoga with a View The Blue Bridge

Exercise outside on Friday, May 12, at the Blue Bridge! All you need is your own mat and you can join in on this free, fun event. Routes 9, 11, 12 and the Silver Line to near the Blue Bridge. If you’re in for a longer walk, ride any route headed to Rapid Central Station and enjoy the walk over. This event takes place from 6-7 p.m.
Free Fridays Yoga is sponsored by Seva Yoga and the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department. 

3. Relax at Rosa

Rosa Parks Circle

Every Tuesday in May, 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 Avalon Cutts-Jones and Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish. 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.

4. Vintage Street Market

On May 14, ride Routes 1, 2 or the Silver Line to shop to your heart’s content at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market monthly Vintage Street Market. 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. Shop from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and then enjoy food and fun from other Downtown Market vendors.  

5. Kent County Resource Fair

This free family event to learn about services available in our community at low or no cost. Visit the Kent County Resource Fair at the Boys & Girls Club–located at the corner of Madison and Franklin–on May 18, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Attendees can enter to win giveaways,  enjoy light refreshments, resources and connections to community partners. For adults ages 21 and older. This event is made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Hecho posible por Los Centros para El Control y La Prevención de Enfermedades y Kent County Health Connect.

Ride Routes 2 and 3 to get to the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids.

6. KD aLe Book Club: Osgood Brewing

Books and brew come together at the KD aLe Book Club. Bibliophiles ages 21+can gather to enjoy some craft beer from Osgood Brewing while talking about what they’ve been reading on May, 18, from 7-8 p.m. Expert book recommendations from KDL librarians included. Ride to Osgood Brewing on Routes 8, 24 and 28

7. Glow Night at the Adventure Park

Ride Route 15 to visit the Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park for Glow Night hosted every Friday and Saturday night beginning in May. The suspended obstacle course will be lit up with LED lights and black lights. Admission for adults and kids over 14 years or older is #39, kids 13 and under at $35, while kids 4-6 are $20. Pricing includes three hours of time in the park. Make your reservation today. 

8. Heritage Hill Home Tour

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 20 from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 21 from 12-6 p.m. Tour turn- of-the-century homes owned by prominent early Grand Rapidians, including an elegant prairie-style Frank Lloyd Wright, a quaint Gothic cottage, an Italianate beauty and a simple repurposed 1900 carriage house.

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

9. Westside Stride Free Pub Run

Catch a ride on Route 7 to head to the corner of Summer and Bridge Streets every Wednesday in May for a free weekly community pub run/walk! This is the perfect excuse to get out and enjoy the weather while getting some exercise and meeting new friends. Participants of all fitness levels are invited to this 5k event. After exercise, meet up for beverages and dinner at one of the many local Bridge Street establishments.  Join the Westside Stride Facebook Group

10. Made in Michigan Pop-Up Marketplace

Visit the Downtown Market to shop Michigan-made artisan gifts, local treats and other goodies. This event takes place on May 27 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  After you fill your shopping bags, grab some lunch inside the market hall. 

Posted in News on

Ride Casual for Casual Commute Day on Friday, May 5

Casual Commute Day

Everyone loves casual Friday. So why not take it a step further with Casual Commute Day?

Make a plan for next Friday, May 5, take a day off from driving alone. Pledge to hop on board a bus, carpool, walk or bike to work and reduce your carbon footprint! By signing up, you’ll be registered to win one of many great prizes from local sponsors.

Joining in your Casual Commute Day is your chance to tray a new way to get around! Who knows, you may fall in love with biking to work. It also helps reduce ozone pollution in our region. Some other benefits include reducing your stress level by commuting with other people and getting more exercising, as well as saving money. If that isn’t enough to win you over, take a look at the awesome prizes:

Prizes

  • –   1 winner –  Four (4) tickets to a Grand Rapids Griffins game of your choosing
  • –   2 winners – Admission for two (2) to the Great Escape Room
  • –   26 winners – $10 Biggby Coffee gift card
  • –   Go the extra mile and log your casual commute on West Michigan Rideshare to be entered into a separate drawing for a $100 gift card!

Environmental Benefits of Public Transit

  • –   In the U.S., public transportation saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually
  • –   Public transportation saves the equivalent of 900,000 tanks of gas every day
  • –   Public transportation is reducing emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) by nearly 745,000 tons annually. This equals nearly 75 percent of the CO emissions by all U.S. chemical manufacturers.

Sign up for Casual Commute Day! 

Posted in Places to Go on

Make the Most of Spring and Ride The Rapid to the John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo Tigers

Don’t miss a chance to enjoy the beautiful spring weather! Ride Routes 12 and 50 to get to the John Ball Zoo and explore new exhibits and shows.

The John Ball Zoo opened in March for its 126th season. This year, visitors will be able to see the zoo’s more than 1,500 animals including tigers, chimpanzees, bobcats, grizzly bears and penguins. And thanks to the recently approved zoo and museum millage, new features are coming to life!

Beginning on Memorial Day, John Ball Zoo will launch their new bird show called Realm of Flight. There will be three shows a day with professional handlers showing off 10 exotic birds from around the world. Some other new additions include a beautiful tiger habitat that features two different exhibits connected by a trail through the woods. There are also a continuously changing variety of classes, events and programs for children to participate in.

Before Memorial Day, get in for a reduced price due to the season. Non-member adults can get in for just $7 and children for $6. Since the weather is cooler during spring months, the animals are more active and there are also fewer visitors to compete with for the perfect view of your favorite animals. Spring hours are from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day.

Zoo memberships start at $80. With a membership, members get free admission and discounts at the gift shop and on food. Members can also get discounted admission at 150 other zoos across the country.

Thanks to Fox 17 Morning Mix from allowing us to bring you awesome deals every week!

Posted in Rider Stories on

Rider Stories: Exploring the Bus System One Route at a Time

Routes moving along the system map

The following is written by Anthony Wilder Puzzuoli, a Grand Rapids citizen and Rapid rider.

Hi, I’m Anthony Wilder Puzzuoli. In the last few years, my wife and I have done a lot of traveling around the United States. While it’s always fun to visit the major attractions, I’ve found myself more drawn the mundane places. The places where people live their daily lives. The streets they walk down to work, the restaurants they stop at for lunch, and the shops where they buy their groceries. I like to imagine what it would be like to really live there.

Even when we return home to Grand Rapids, I enjoy visiting neighborhoods and walking down streets I’m not familiar with, exploring the city that we live in with fresh eyes and getting a feel for the different neighborhoods.  Sometimes it’s easy to stay within our Heritage Hill neighborhood and hang out in our favorite nearby places. For me, it helps build a sense of community and connection to a place but, it’s important to get outside that bubble. There is so much more to our city to explore!Anthony

While I’ve lived in Grand Rapids for 15 years, I haven’t really utilized the bus system. I’ve taken the Route 50 out to Grand Valley State University a few times, and I used to take the bus to work in the mornings when it was cold and then bike home in the warmer afternoons. That was it. I realized that there was an entire system of transportation I had never explored in my own city! Routes I’d never been on. Ways to see the city I’d never experienced.

So, I made it a goal for 2017 to ride every route of the Rapid, at least once. I wanted to be able to understand our transit system and to use it effectively. I thought it would make me a better citizen, and enable me to see our city from a different perspective. I also thought it would be a fun way to see different neighborhoods and businesses I’m not as familiar with! I work at Local First, a non-profit organization here in town. Through my work there I came into contact with some representatives at the Rapid and they asked me to write a little bit about my experiences. I hope you enjoy it, and if you see me on the bus, please feel free to say hello!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anthony Wilder Puzzuoli has lived in Grand Rapids since 2002 when he moved here to attend Aquinas College. He’s worked at Local First as Membership Coordinator for the last few years and has recently started riding The Rapid as a way to explore the city. One of his favorite things about living in Grand Rapids is being so close to the lakeshore.