Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

The Rapid by the YMCA

Did you start the new year off with a fitness resolution? If so, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids may be the place for you. Don’t miss our latest FOX 17 Thrifty Thursday deal.

Getting started at a new fitness facility can be intimidating. However, the YMCA will partner with you every step of the way so you are comfortable and determined on your journey to health and wellness. Whether you’re interested in group fitness classes, personal training, swimming in the pool or just working out at your own pace, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Their programs even include a variety of sports leagues for all ages and cooking and nutrition classes. The YMCA even offers daycare service for kids, so your kids have something to do when you’re working out.

Thrifty Thursday Deal

The YMCA has waived their joining fee until the end of January. This means you’ll be able to join at no additional cost! They offer family memberships, single memberships, and other combinations that work best with your budget. Visit grymca.org to learn more about what they offer, membership pricing and more.

There are several YMCA locations in Greater Grand Rapids. You can ride The Rapid to the David D. Hunting YMCA, Mary Free Bed YMCA, Spartan Stores YMCA and the Visser Family YMCA. Plan your trip today!

Posted in News on

Rider Alert: Route 1 – Division Routing Change Effective Jan. 16, 2017

Route Change Notice

Beginning Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, Route 1 buses will no longer travel through the Kmart store parking lot at 68th and Clyde Park to the bus stop by the building at this store location. This is due to the closure of the Kmart store.  The bus stop at Kmart will be removed and the route rerouted to improve overall efficiency. The Route 1 buses will travel west on 68th Street from Division to Clyde Park, and then right on Clyde Park to Meijer at 54th Street.

Riders will still have access to this plaza via the current bus stop on 68th Street at the drive by Taco Bell, as well as a new bus stop at 68th Street and Clyde Park.

Route 1 Change Map
Posted in News on

8 Habits for Safer Winter Bus Travel

Winter bus travel

Cold weather? Check. Snowfall? Check. Icy sidewalks and roads? Check. Wind? Double check. Winter is here and it isn’t going to be dissipating anytime soon.

Battling winter weather conditions as a bus rider is a daily challenge. Sometimes it involves trudging through uncleared sidewalks and waiting at the bus stop in -5-degree temperatures. As you travel in the snow and cold, there are a few good habits to practice to ensure smarter and safer winter travel. Here are some habits to develop to make your bus travel smoother and more comfortable:

1. Leave early and expect delays.

Winter weather conditions affect all traffic. If the roads are covered in snow and ice, we will work to get you safely and efficiently to your destination. However, buses can only move as fast as traffic and road conditions allow. Consider taking an earlier bus on snow days to ensure that you arrive at your destination on time.

2. Dress for the weather. 

Warm attire is essential to winter bus travel. Even a short wait at the bus stop in the winter can seem like ages if you’re not wearing the proper gear. Layering your clothing is a good start to insulating yourself from inclement weather. It also helps tremendously to have a waterproof jacket. Other must-have winter bus travel accessories include gloves, scarf, hat or other head and ear cover, and most importantly, snow boots. Since the bus will be nice and warm when it arrives, you want to remove your outerwear once you’re on board for a more comfortable ride.

3. Wait in a safe, cleared location.

When the weather is heavy, bus stops may be completely covered in snow and ice. If possible, avoid standing knee-deep in snow or on top of a snow mound while you wait. Find the nearest cleared area and flag your bus down as it approaches. Rapid bus operators are trained to pick up passengers in driveways or the nearest cleared area during poor weather conditions. Plus, your dry toes will thank you.

4. Stand back before boarding.

When your bus arrives, be sure to put some distance between you and the vehicle. Icy roads can lead to slipping wheels, so protect yourself by stepping back from the curb or arrival area and farther into the safe zone of the sidewalk.

5. Step carefully.

While our buses feature non-slip floors, it’s important to step with care regardless. Use handrails when boarding the bus to ensure your safety.

6.  Be kind to your bus operator.

Your bus operator may be running behind schedule, but we can assure you that he or she wants to make the line up at Rapid Central Station just as much as you do. Please be respectful to your bus operator despite delays. If your bus is behind schedule, remember that your operator is doing his or her best to make sure you arrive at your destination despite bad road conditions.

7. Bring something to keep you occupied.

Since poor road conditions always run the risk of delay, there’s a chance you may be on board for longer than you originally planned. Bring a book, notepad, headphones or anything else that helps keep you busy while you’re riding with us.

8. Stay connected to service information.

 Before you leave to catch your bus, get the latest updates on detours:
– Check the Alerts & Detours page on ridetherapid.org.
– Track your bus in real time and check public service message on Rapid Connect.
– Call 776-1100 to speak to a Rapid Customer Information Representative.
– Sign up to get route alerts and public service messages to your email inbox or via text message.
– Follow The Rapid on Twitter and/or Facebook.
– Check local TV and radio stations when severe weather conditions occur.

Posted in News on

Ride The Rapid More in 2017

Rapid riders

A new year offers a chance for new intentions and goals. If you’re seeking something meaningful to stick with this year, there’s one goal we think you should try on for size: riding the bus more.

OK — We may be a little biased, but hear us out. Getting on board the bus is the perfect all-encompassing goal for knocking out some other common new year’s resolutions. Whether you’re hoping to find time to fit in more exercise or to make more time for yourself in 2017, riding the bus can help!

Here are seven reasons to ride the bus more in 2017:

1. Squeeze in more reading

Riding the bus means more time to cross books off your reading list. Instead of battling traffic in your car, get on board to add some extra reading time into your busy schedule. You can even ride with us to several library locations and local bookstores like Books & Mortar on Cherry Street (located off of Routes 6 & 14) to keep your personal library stocked.

2. Get more steps

Did you know that public transit riders get more than three times the amount of physical activity per day than non-riders? Walking–or running, because we’ve all done it–to the bus stop is an easy way to sneak in extra steps every day. If getting in shape is in your plans for the new year, riding the bus is a simple way to increase your daily exercise. Start by using our “Nearest Stop” tool on ridetherapid.org to find the nearest bus stop to your home or workplace.

3. Save money

Gas prices may be low, but for less than $50 you can ride The Rapid as many times as you want for 31 days. Riding the bus offers a cheaper transportation alternative to driving, and it may just make you rethink your spending habits in the process.

4. Meet new people

For those seeking to expand their social circle in 2017, riding the bus offers a chance to meet new people in your community. Maybe you’ll get to know your neighbor better, gain a new friend, or meet someone that inspires you in the community.

5. Reduce stress

Sick of fighting traffic and the general stress that comes from your daily commute? Let the bus be your beacon for finding stress relief. Keep calm as we worry about getting you where you need to go safely and efficiently. Riding the bus in the winter can also be a perfect way to ease stress when road conditions are less than stellar.

6. Make time for yourself

Sometimes taking a little time for yourself can be just what you need in your day. When you ride the bus you have time to enjoy a podcast, listen to your favorite musicians, do some work, or even reflect on the day ahead. Passengers continually share how much their extra downtime on the bus means to them.

7. Explore your community

Riding the bus (literally) offers you a window to your community. While you’re traveling to your destination you have a chance to enjoy your surroundings, which often leads to finding new businesses and locations to visit. Getting on board the bus may mean trying a new restaurant or visiting a new local shop in your neighborhood.

Do you plan to ride the bus more in 2017?

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: January 2017 Event Guide

Ride The Rapid bus

The start of a new year means a fresh chance to get out and explore. What better way to take in the city than riding the bus to an event.

We know what you’re probably thinking. Cold, snowy weather isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite time to venture to the bus stop. But riding the bus can actually save you time and stress since you won’t have to hunt down a cleared parking spot, scrape off your car or battle snow-covered, icy roads. Remember, there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. So make sure you wear your best snow boots, hat, gloves and warm jacket.

Here are a few winter events and destinations we know you’ll love:

Classes at the Downtown Market

Is learning to cook or bake on your new year’s resolution list? Throughout January–and the whole year–the Downtown Market offers an immense variety of cooking, baking, cocktail and skill classes for all ages. This month, there’s everything from a knife skills class to a two-day pasta workshop. You can even take a cooking class with your child. View the January classes and events calendar for a look at classes taking place. 

SL, 1 & 2 can get you there.

Skate & Create

On Jan. 7, experience the best winter fun that downtown Grand Rapids has to offer.  Enjoy skating at Rosa Parks Circle before warming up with a free cup of hot cocoa and art-making fun in GRAMStudio in the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Receive $1 off admission to the Museum for everyone in your group with coupon, available in the Skate Rental Room.

SL, 6, 9, 11, 13, 50 can get you there.

Grand Rapid Jazz Orchestra — LIVE at Founders

Visit the Founders Brewing Co. Taproom on Sunday, January 8 to enjoy live jazz! From 5:30-7:30 p.m. grab a beer and some food while you take in the live music for no cover. Better yet, if you work in a bar, restaurant, liquor store or coffee shop, you can receive $ 

SL, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 + can get you there.

The Philadelphia Story

Don’t miss the Grand Rapid Civic Theatre’s upcoming production running from Jan. 13 – 29. In The Philadelphia Story, wealthy heiress Tracy Lord is preparing for her second marriage when her ex-husband and a tabloid reporter arrive on her doorstep. This witty, sophisticated, classic romantic comedy has Tracy deciding between her past love, her present love, and a new love. This play first opened on Broadway in 1939 and rose to fame with the 1940 movie adaptation starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart. Tickets for this production are priced from $16-$30.

Routes 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15 can get you there.

Concerts Under the Stars in Chaffee Planetarium

visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum on Jan. 19 to sit back and experience the wonder of the cosmos and the wonder of music. The first concert taking place in the Chaffee Planetarium will feature electronic and house music by Joshua Tree. His music is described as contemplative yet provocative analog electronic movements in the classic techno/IDM style. Concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments, beer and other beverages will be available for purchase.

Routes 7, 9, 12, 50 can get you there.

Kids and Family Expo

Is your family suffering from a bit of cabin fever? Ride with us to the Kids and Family Expo at DeVos Place on Jan. 21 for a chance to play, celebrate, get active, explore, build, learn and discover. Activities include a zip line, art wall, hula hooping, magician, craft areas, inflatable obstacle course and more. There’s a fun activity for every age in your household! Admission is just $7 for adults, $2 for children ages 3-15, and children 2 and under get in for free.

Routes SL, 11, 13, 50 can get you there.

Shen Yun Performing Arts

Enjoy a cultural experience you won’t forget. Let Shen Yun take you on a magical journey and we will share with you the beautiful world of China’s divine civilization. Classical Chinese dance, ethnic and folk dances, authentic costumes, and breathtaking backdrops will do the storytelling, all accompanied by an enchanting orchestral sound. It’s a stunning experience you won’t find anywhere else. Performances are taking place from Jan. 24 – 25 with tickets ranging in price from $72-$122. 

Routes SL, 11, 13, 50 can get you there.

Posted in News on

Top 10 Posts of 2016

Ride the Rapid on Fulton Street

It’s hard to believe 2016 is almost over. Take a look back at some of the top Get on Board posts from this past year.

The Rapid & Friends Celebrate Route 28

U.S. Transportation Secretary Announces $57 Million for Laker Line Bus Rapid Transit Project

Students’ Poetry Takes a Ride on the Rapid

DASH and Silver Line Enhance Routes to Better Serve Customers

New Records Set During 2016 Active Commute Week Challenge

Park Once & Ride For Free Around Downtown Grand Rapids

Sip Local at Cocktail Week GR

Driverless Vehicles and the Future of Public Transportation

Finding Santavious his Forever Home

Shop Local this Holiday Season

Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to Second Dance Consignment Shop

Second Dance GR

Are you in need of a new dress this winter? We know of a place where you can find something that will make you look like a million bucks without breaking the bank. We’ve partnered with FOX 17 to bring you a new local business to check out with a deal we know you’ll love.

This past Thrifty Thursday,  we ventured to Second Dance, a bridal and formal consignment shop located at 321 Division Ave. in Grand Rapids. The store features more than 1,000 dresses. Whether you’re shopping for a bridesmaid dress, formal dress, or attire for a special occasion, there are many options in like-new condition. All dresses in the shop are following current styles and trends.

In addition to prom and bridesmaid dresses, Second Dance also sells wedding gowns. Unlike other dresses in stock, wedding dresses are all sample The wedding gowns. This means they’ve never been worn before!

Thrifty Thursday Deal

Second Dress is offering Fox 17 Morning Mix viewers and Rapid riders Thrifty Thursday treat. Mention you saw them on the show and you’ll get 15 percent off one dress, any pair of shoes, or accessory.

 

Posted in News on

New Poll: Voters in Presidential Election Express Bi-partisan Support for Public Transportation Investment

The Silver Line

In the wake of the presidential election, there are few issues that unite Americans more than the critical need to ensure public transportation infrastructure continues to connect our communities. Recently, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a poll conducted immediately after the election that shows strong support for continued investment in public transportation, including among a majority of Donald Trump voters.

Nearly 70 percent of all Americans across the country support investment to repair and improve public transportation, per APTA’s survey conducted amongst voters of the last presidential election.
A large majority of Americans who voted for Donald Trump also support greater investment, polling at 65 percent of those surveyed. The 2016 First View Post-Election Research poll was conducted for APTA by the polling company Heart+Mind Strategies.

“Today’s poll release mirrors what we’ve found in the past: Voters from both parties support public transportation,” said Hearts+Minds Strategy CEO and Managing Partner, Dee Allsop. “At a time when there are many public policy issues that highlight divisions, public transportation is an exception.”

The national voter survey showed that:

– 81 percent of Donald Trump voters oppose any cuts to current levels of public transportation investment;
– 69 percent of all voters support the use of their tax dollars for public transportation. This includes a majority (53 percent) of Trump voters.
– More than 69 percent of Americans believe our public transportation infrastructure is in “crisis,” including 63 percent of Trump voters.

“While Americans may be divided on the overall direction of our country, we know this much: Voters for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump support public transportation,” said APTA’s Acting President and CEO Richard A. White. “Americans understand that investment in public transportation creates jobs and that public transportation will produce greater economic growth for our local communities. That’s something we can all get behind.”

APTA officials note through previous studies, economists estimate that for every $1 communities invest in public transportation, approximately $4 is generated in economic returns, both from job creation and from connectivity of our communities.

“There is a bright future ahead for our country when we unite to make smart investments in public transportation that connect and grow our communities,” White said. “This survey demonstrates that Americans agree. We urge Congress to take note and act swiftly.”

The 2016 First View Post-Election Research was conducted online with a representative sample of voters on November 11, 2016 and prepared for APTA by Heart+Mind Strategies. While steps are taken to make these results as representative as possible of 2016 voters, all sample surveys, and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with question wording and more. In the case where none of these sources of error are present, a probability sample size of 1003 would have a margin of error of +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level.

Posted in CEO Insight on

Finding Santavious his Forever Family

15540837_10210882279724233_8398810786345858762_o

This week, we had a special guest with us at The Rapid. As a part of FOX 17’s Forever Home series, we had the opportunity to meet a boy with a two big dreams. His name is Santavious and he’s 11-years-old. He has been waiting two years to be adopted and find his forever family.15419713_10210882280924263_3446912052994217811_o

Santavious dreams of not only finding an adoptive family but also of becoming a bus operator.

“I didn’t know until the age of eight and I was like, ‘I want to be a bus driver,’ and I just was so excited that I wanted to have my dreams be met,” said Santavious.

We set up a tour of Rapid Operations Center to give Santavious a detailed look into his future career as a bus operator. Our Fleet Maintenance Manager Jeff Azzoli had the honor of leading the tour which started in the bus operator’s lounge. Right away, Santavious had great questions and was very smart, eager and inquisitive. We then gave him a look inside dispatch where he learned more about how we dispatch and monitor buses, as well as all of the technology used to expedite the process.

Azzoli eventually led us into the maintenance bay where we had a bus waiting for Santavious with his name on the front. He had the chance to sit in the driver’s seat and asked many questions about the bus itself. We then had a technician take the bus through the bus washer– a treat for everyone involved.

After the bus wash, we visited The Rapid’s paint room to see where all the custom painting happens. Santavious also got to take a look inside a bus undergoing engine repair. He asked great questions, especially in regard to bus fueling.

My favorite moment with Santavious, was when he wanted to learn more about the special license and training required for bus operators. I showed him my license, which has a commercial and passenger endorsement.

Meeting Santavious was a pleasure. All staff involved did their part to ensure he received a thorough look behind the scenes. I know he will achieve his dream of becoming a bus operator and I hope his forever family finds him soon.

– Peter Varga
CEO of The Rapid

If you would like to learn more about Santavious or adoption through foster care, please call his adoption agency Orchards Children’s Services at 1-(855)-694-7301.

Posted in News, Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Grand Rapids Children's Museum Mosaic

If you’re looking for some indoor fun this month, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is the place to go! Once again, we’ve partnered with FOX17 to bring you an awesome family-friendly deal this holiday season.

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is the city’s hub for hands-on learning for kids ages 2-10. Visitors will find exhibits, workshops and fun for the whole family. Located at 11 Sheldon Ave. NE in downtown Grand Rapids, the museum is just steps away from Route 1, 4, 6, 14, 15 and Silver Line bus stops. So getting there is a breeze if you’re planning to ride with us. Don’t forget, children under 42″ tall ride The Rapid for free and a One-Day Pass is just $3.50.

This month, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum has stations all around the building for the kids to make calendars, ornaments and cards to give to others for the holidays. The museum’s goal is to teach children about the joys of giving to someone else and the joy of sharing.

They’re also hosting a New Year’s Early Eve on December 31. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with your kids and watch the ball drop at 7:30 p.m. Grab a party hat, create firework pictures and dance and play your way into 2017. All while getting your kids into bed before midnight.  The party will happen from 6 to 8 p.m. and costs $10 to $12.

Thrifty Thursday Deals

Don’t forget on Thrifty Thursdays, join the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum for their Family Night from 5 to 8 p.m. for just $1.75 admission fee. And don’t miss their special offer, right now you can buy a family four-pack of admission tickets to the museum for just $15. That’s over a 50 percent savings!

 

For more information on their exhibits and hours, call (616) 235-4726.