Posted in In The Community on

Love at First Bus Ride

Two people standing in front of a parked bus.

The season of love is upon us. What better way to celebrate than showcasing a couple who met while riding The Rapid.

Hitting it off with someone you meet while riding the bus isn’t uncommon. In fact, connecting with new people is one of the benefits of using public transportation. But sometimes these meetings can end in more than friendship.

In 2011, Rachel Anderson, a professor in the Grand Valley State University English Department was going about her day as normal. She was planning to ride Route 50 from Allendale to downtown Grand Rapids. She headed to her bus stop with a colleague, only to be introduced to a new visiting assistant professor in the department, John Bruni. Anderon, Bruni and their colleague hopped on board and began a conversation. However, their colleague exited early on leaving Anderson and Bruni to continue their conversation for the duration of the route.

“The ride on Route 50 was long enough for us to realize that the other person was cool,” said Anderson. “When he asked me out on a date while getting off the bus, it was easy to say yes.”

And the rest is history! A year and a half later, Anderon and Bruni were engaged, and a year after that, they got married. Anderson and Bruni still teach at Grand Valley State University and ride The Rapid regularly.

You never know who you’ll meet when you ride the bus! Plan your trip at


Posted in News on

The Rapid Will End the Sale of Paper Tickets on Nov.14, 2019

The Wave card replaces paper tickets

With the implementation of The Wave electronic fare system in 2018, riders have had access to an easier, faster, and more convenient way to pay their fare for more than a year. As a part of the transition to The Wave card, The Rapid will end the sale of paper tickets for regular fixed-route bus service on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019.

As of Nov. 14, 2019, we will no longer sell paper tickets at:

  • – The Information Center at Rapid Central Station
  • – On buses
  • – Meijer Stores
  • – Spartan Stores (D&W and Family Fare)
  • – Online at

How will riders pay their fare?

  • – Cash – Riders can always pay with cash for a single ride on all buses.
  • – Wave cards – Wave cards are available for purchase at Rapid Central Station,, or at more than 60 retail locations throughout the service area.
  • – Paper tickets – We will accept existing paper tickets until summer 2020.

How does The Wave work?

The Wave offers an Adult, ADA, Reduced, Youth, and 10-Ride card option for riders. All you have to do is purchase your card (Adult, Youth & 10-Ride) for a one-time fee of $3. Load money at Rapid Central Station, online, or one of our retail outlets, and tap your card every time you ride the bus. You can also register your Wave card to access the benefits of balance protection if you lose your card, auto-load, and more. The Wave features pay-as-you-go fares–the more you ride, the more you save! Each tap of your Wave card earns towards a day, week, or monthly pass.

When will you stop accepting tickets?

In the summer of 2020, we will no longer accept paper tickets. An official date will come next year.

What about cash fares?

You can still use cash to pay your bus fare. However, after summer 2020, riders using cash to pay their fare will not receive a transfer or a change card.

What about non-profit and social service ticket programs?

Special ticket programs will transition from two-ride tickets to single-ride barcodes.

Wave cards are available for purchase at more than with cash, credit, or debit at retail outlets, Rapid Central Station, or with debit or credit at

This change does not impact GO!Bus or PASS tickets.

Posted in News on

Assistance Dogs Gain “Firstpaw” Experience in Riding the Bus

Paws With a Cause Dog

When riding the bus, you may not expect to see a dog sitting next to you. But at The Rapid, we know that help comes in many forms. That’s why service animals such as assistance dogs are always welcome on board The Rapid’s buses and paratransit vehicles.

In honor of National Dog Week from Sept. 22-28, 2019, The Rapid and Paws With A Cause® have partnered to increase awareness for the work of assistance dogs and the independence they provide to people with disabilities. On Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, seven assistance-dogs-in-training and their handlers visited Rapid Central Station. This was an opportunity for these assistance dogs to experience all of the sights and sounds of public transportation and show off their skills at maneuvering the bus.

With help from The Rapid’s Travel Trainers, dogs and handlers were provided information and practical experience for riding the bus. Assistance dogs and handlers were able to tour Rapid Central Station and the platform where an average of 9,000 riders pass through each day. They then boarded the Silver Line for the full transit experience.

“It was a joy to see so many assistance dogs visiting The Rapid. Most of us have had a dog that’s become our best friend and part of our family, and for people with assistance dogs, that bond is even greater,” said Lisa Young, Communications Manager at The Rapid. “The Rapid offers travel training services to individuals who need some extra help learning how to ride with us. Why not offer the same services to these four-legged helpers in training?”

Paws With A Cause® Custom-Trained Assistance Dogs are placed throughout the country with their individuals with disabilities. Many of these dogs become vital assistants to individuals who ride public transportation every day to get where they need to go. These dogs can perform tasks such as pulling a wheelchair, fetching dropped items, alerts individuals with seizure disorders, and so much more. Hands-on learning provided through travel training opportunities such as this one ensures that these dogs are prepared for their future.

“We want to prepare our dogs to work in environments of multiple varying distractions so that they are comfortable doing their job for their clients in everyday life,” said the PAWS Training Team. “It is very likely that our dogs will end up on some sort of public transportation at some point, so an experience like this one is invaluable.”

Aside from great experience for assistance dogs, this travel training opportunity also allowed for The Rapid’s team and fellow passengers to experience these dogs training. Altogether, this increases awareness of the rights and roles of Assistance Dog Teams through education.

Here are the top three things to remember when you see a service dog:

  1. The dog’s job is to focus on completing tasks for its owner or handler.
  2. Your behavior should not interfere with this focus. This means no petting, talking to, or bothering the dog!
  3. The handler is trying to complete his/her own activity. Even if the handler is out to dinner, the handler is not there to entertain you or to answer your questions.


Posted in News on

Ride The Rapid to Project 1 by ArtPrize

The Rapid DASH bus traveling under pedestrian bridge

Project 1 by ArtPrize takes place from September 7 – October 27, 2019. ArtPrize wants you to explore Grand Rapids in new ways that weren’t possible with previous events. Get around to all three Project 1 site locations with the help of The Rapid! This option reduces your carbon footprint and is a fun way to explore.

Project 1 has events taking place every Saturday throughout the event dates.

Travel from Rapid Central Station to each site location by following the routes below:


Take Route 11 from Central Station to Monroe & Louis Stop #4486

MLK Park

Take Route 2 from Central Station to Fuller across from Prince Stop #951. The Rapid and Mobile GR partnered to provide service enhancements to support residents and visitors during Project 1 by increasing frequency on Route 2 (Kalamazoo) on all Saturdays from 30-minute intervals to 15-minute intervals from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Tanglefoot Studios

Take Route 18 from Central Station to Butterworth & Straight Stop #7992 Note: Walking back from Tanglefoot to Central Station is the fastest route.


All of The Rapid’s buses, including DASH, are wheelchair-accessible and ADA service animals are welcome. GO!Bus is also a great option for getting to and from Project 1.

Plan your trip at

Posted in News on

New App Offers The Rapid’s GO!Bus Passengers Convenience and Less Wait Time

Rapid On Demand shuttle and app

The Rapid, in partnership with Via, has deployed Rapid On Demand. This is a six-month, app-based pilot program to test the feasibility of on-demand ridesharing as a public transportation solution for seniors and persons with disabilities.

Riders with GO!Bus eligibility can utilize this free app if they live and travel within the pilot project’s service area, which spans from downtown Grand Rapids to the southeastern portion Grand Rapids and Kentwood. Rapid On Demand provides same-day rides to individuals with a wait time of 15 minutes or less.

“At The Rapid, our goal is to continuously improve mobility options in West Michigan,” said Andrew Johnson, CEO of The Rapid. “Rapid On Demand offers an exciting opportunity to provide same-day service that improves independence and customer experience to those who may not be able to utilize typical ride-hailing solutions.”

The Rapid received the $373,782 in grant funding for this pilot program through the Michigan Mobility Challenge. This is initiative is funded through $8 million state legislative appropriation in 2018 to use technology and innovation to address core mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities, and veterans across the state. The grant aims to improve rider experience by shortening the trip duration and reservation lead time. This will allow riders to book trips on the same day and to spend less time on the bus. The Rapid’s project team consists of the City of Grand Rapids, Disability Advocates of Kent County, and global on-demand mobility provider Via.

“We’re delighted to be working with The Rapid and partners to provide an affordable, convenient, and comfortable transportation solution for seniors and people with disabilities,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. “We have increasingly seen cities and towns ask how they can provide their residents with transportation that radically improves the customer experience, and yet still achieves the same environmental and congestion-reducing benefits of public transit. Via’s on-demand transit technology is that solution, and we are excited for GO!Bus to improve mobility for residents in the communities that need it most.”

Via has been tapped by cities and transportation players around the world to help re-engineer public transit from a regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, on-demand network. Via now has nearly 80 launched and pending deployments in 20 countries.

“On-demand public transit is revolutionary for our area, and we couldn’t be more excited about partnering to assist with the Rapid On Demand pilot program,” said Laura St. Louis, Community Organizer with Disability Advocates of Kent County. “Riders are already sharing how easy it is to book a ride and get where they need to go with no fuss.”

How Rapid On Demand works:

Using the Rapid On Demand app, GO!bus-eligible passengers in the pilot service area spanning from downtown Grand Rapids and the greater southeastern Grand Rapids area, will select their pickup and drop-off locations and confirm their ride. All trips must start or end within the pilot service area. Via’s smart algorithm enables multiple riders to seamlessly share a single paratransit vehicle through curbside pick-ups for quick and efficient travel. Trips cost just $3.50 and the fare can be paid through the app or using cash or a GO!Bus ticket.

Posted in News on

The Rapid Unveils High-capacity 60′ Laker Line Bus

Laker Line Unveiling at Rapid Central Station

On Monday, June 3, local, state and federal elected officials and representatives from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) joined The Rapid, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and other invitees came together to celebrate the Laker Line, Michigan’s second Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line. Congressman Bill Huizenga, GVSU President Tom Haas, Kentwood Mayor, and The Rapid Board Chair Stephen Kepley, The Rapid CEO Andrew Johnson, FTA Region 5 Administrator Kelley Brookins, and Mary Judnich of Senator Debbie Stabenow’s office shared brief remarks about the BRT project.

Construction began on the Laker Line BRT line on April 1, 2019, and service is slated to begin in August 2020. The Laker Line is the second BRT line for the State of Michigan and The Rapid, which opened the Silver Line BRT in August of 2014. The Laker Line, which will replace The Rapid’s current Route 50 – GVSU Campus Connector, will connect the GVSU Allendale campus to the Michigan Street Medical Mile with stops on Lake Michigan Drive. The Laker Line will serve the City of Walker, through West Fulton St., and into downtown Grand Rapids. Construction of the Laker Line is being funded through support from the FTA and the State of Michigan and creates no additional cost for taxpayers. GVSU will provide all operational funding.

Planning for the Laker Line began in August 2013 and generated significant public support. The project received a favorable rating from the FTA competitive grant program for building enhanced transit. Funding for the project was received in January 2018 to finalize design and engineering.

Similar to the Silver Line’s, the Laker Line platforms will provide well-lit shelters with level platform boarding, off-board fare collecting, real-time arrival signage, and security phones and cameras. The Laker Line will share three existing downtown Silver Line stations, helping riders make connections to other routes and improving access throughout The Rapid’s system. Additionally, Laker Line buses will be higher capacity, 60’ articulated “accordion-style” vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).

Learn more about the Laker Line at

Posted in CEO Insight on

Talking Transit with The Rapid’s CEO Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson of The Rapid

Recently, Corp! Magazine, spoke with The Rapid’s CEO Andrew Johnson and the regarding mobility in Michigan. Take a journey inside the Grand Rapids area transit authority to find out what Johnson is working on in his new role.

Here’s what he shared:

Corp!: Looking back on 2018 what success story stands out?
Andrew Johnson: I started in August, but prior to my tenure, The Rapid was able to get the capital investment grant released by the federal government to get the Laker Line funded. At the end of 2018, we received a $696,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration as part of a new $945,000 effort to plan for development along the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit route, focusing on the Division Avenue corridor from Wealthy to 60th streets. The Silver Line is Michigan’s first bus rapid transit route.

Corp!: When speaking to business leaders, how do you make the case for the value of public transit?
AJ: The model that we currently have, and have had for many years, where we build large parking lots/ramps where everyone drives into work and drives home, is an antiquated model. We need to find new ways for employees to get to work. We want to give people choices, to get more and better-qualified employees to work sites and to meet the needs of the new generation of employees who don’t want to own a car. We want to work with employers to find a way to offer good transportation to their employees and their business.

Corp!: How does your system support businesses, employment and economic development?
AJ: Last year, we unveiled Route 19, a partnership between The Rapid, Grand Rapids and Spectrum Health. Spectrum wanted to know how to get larger numbers of employees in and out of their facility. We created a route that serves remote parking lots, Spectrum and facilities along the Medical Mile. Route 19 is a completely different version of the route that existed before. It was serving about 54 people a day. Now it’s serving 1,100 people, primarily employees getting to and from work.

Corp!: As autonomous vehicles, rideshare services and mini-mobility are all developing, what do you think the future holds for public transportation?
AJ: Public transportation is in a great state of change. At The Rapid, we are shifting from public transportation to mobility coordination. Really, my vision for the organization is not to simply be buses and paratransit vans. We want to be a provider of mobility outcomes. With the state of disruption in the transportation area, there are new options popping up all the time and we have to integrate new choices for people.

Corp!: What is your guiding principle to live by?
AJ: My guiding principle really is to be fair, to treat people well and to serve. What I do benefits the community and people around me and that’s why I do what I do.

Corp!: What is the biggest management myth?
AJ: Delaying anything because everything is not perfect is not in the interest of the community. You have to be realistic with the resources you have available to get the best result.

Corp!: What is the most important lesson you have learned in business?
AJ: No matter how great the challenge seems, there is a way to resolve it. Getting too upset about things is not the best course of action. I didn’t always understand that early in my career.

Corp!: What is your pet peeve in the office?
AJ: Not being informed of things on a timely basis. I can handle bad news without too much trouble, but I don’t like surprises.

Corp!: Who is the most interesting person you’d like to meet and why?
AJ: Rosa Parks is very interesting to me, because of her impact on public transportation

View the full article here.

Posted in News on

Join Us April 25, 2019 for National Get on Board Day

Get on Board for Public Transit

Get on Board Day is a new national advocacy day that is all about generating awareness of and increasing support for public transportation.

The Rapid is partnering with organizations to have bus pop-ups throughout the Greater Grand Rapids area. The goal is to spread bus love and teach individuals of all ages and abilities on how to ride the bus!

On April 25, 2019, we will be visiting locations throughout our six-city service area to quickly teach individuals how to ride the bus!

Visit us at the following locations for a quick training on how to ride the bus like a pro, a chance to win prizes, and a free, pre-loaded Wave card.

  • – 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. at Goodwill Industries,  870 28th St SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
  • – 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. – Kent District Library, 4293 Remembrance Rd NW, Walker, MI 49534
  • – 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. – United States Postal Service in Eastown, 1451 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • – 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. – Family Fare, 2755 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • – 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. – Kent District Library, 4950 Breton Rd SE, Kentwood, MI 49508
  • – 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. – West Grand Neighborhood Organization, 415 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • – 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. – Schuler Books, 2660 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
  • – 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. – Wyoming Senior Center, 2380 De Hoop Ave, Wyoming, MI 49509

Mark your calendars! We’ll see you on board.

Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to Events Throughout April 2019

April 2019 Event Guide for The Rapid

Spring has sprung! Use the change in seasons as the perfect excuse to explore the Greater Grand Rapids area. There’s no shortage of family fun to embark on.

Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival

Shorts, features and other entertainment awaits you at the 9th annual Grand Rapids Latin American Festival (GRLAFF). This event is held at the Wealthy Theatre on Apr. 5, 6, and 7. Get tickets and see the full schedule here:

West Michigan Pet Expo

The DeltaPlex is hosting the West Michigan Pet Expo this Apr. 6 and 7!  Find your future furbaby and enjoy pet entertainers, vendors, and more family fun. Get tickets in advance:

Yoga at The GRAM

Relax and let Yoga at The GRAM melt your winter blues away. On select Thursday evenings, enjoy a Vinyasa-style yoga class thanks to the generous support for Priority Health. These classes are donation-based. The next class will take place on April 18th. 

Mahler’s Symphony No. 3

Don’t miss the Grand Rapids Symphony performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 at the DeVos Performance Hall. Get tickets to the April 12 or April 13 performance. This concert will feature the Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung as the featured vocalist. Get your tickets here.

Meaty Monday at The Downtown Market

Hungry? Grab your friends and head over to the Downtown Market for Meaty Monday on April 29. This event will have meat-inspired specials from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. You won’t want to miss it.

Superhero Day at The John Ball Zoo

On Saturday, April 13, you can fly into the John Ball Zoo dressed as your favorite superhero! All activities are included with your admission.

Enchanted Spring Party with Mermaids and Unicorns at Woodland Mall

Have you ever wanted to meet a real mermaid? Now is your chance! Woodland Mall is celebrating Easter early with giveaways, unicorns, the Easter bunny, and a real mermaid. On Saturday, April 13, you can bring the whole family to the event from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

James And The Giant Peach at Civic Theatre

Do you remember this childhood classic? On Friday, April 26, you can see it live at the Civic Theatre. Tickets are on sale now for the last week of April.

Plan your trip at

Posted in News on

Construction Begins on the Laker Line BRT, Scheduled to Open in August 2020

GVSU Pew Campus Transit Plaza

The Laker Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line will begin construction on April 1, 2019, as The Rapid prepares for service beginning in August 2020. The Laker Line BRT is the second BRT line for The Rapid, which opened the Silver Line BRT in August of 2014. Fulton & Valley Eastbound Laker Line Station

The Laker Line, which will replace The Rapid’s current Route 50 – GVSU Campus Connector, will connect the Grand Valley State University Allendale campus to the Michigan Street Medical Mile with stops on Lake Michigan Drive. The Laker Line will serve the City of Walker, through West Fulton St., and into downtown Grand Rapids.

Planning for the Laker Line began in August 2013, and generated significant public support. The project received a favorable rating from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) competitive grant program for building enhanced transit. Funding for the project was received in January 2018 to finalize design and engineering. Construction will begin today and conclude in August 2020.

The Rapid staff and their construction partner, The Christman Company, will be working with area businesses to educate the public on the benefits of BRT, as well as the construction schedule and traffic impacts.

Similar to the Silver Line’s, the Laker Line platforms will provide well-lit shelters with level platform boarding, off-board fare collecting, real-time arrival signage, and security phones and cameras. The Laker Line will share three existing downtown Silver Line stations, helping riders make connections to other routes. Additionally, Laker Line buses will be 60’ articulated “accordion-style” vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). Each bus will be large enough to carry 90 passengers comfortably.

“We’re thrilled to be moving forward with the Laker Line project and to break ground on the second BRT line in Michigan,” said Andrew Johnson, CEO of The Rapid. “The Laker Line will provide a faster connection from GVSU to downtown Grand Rapids, and improve access for residents and businesses throughout The Rapid’s service area.”

The Laker Line is funded through support from the FTA and the State of Michigan. Grand Valley State University provides operational support.

More information on this project can be found at, which includes images of the new stations, a route map, and a full construction schedule.