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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.

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Clean Up Your Commute on May 4, 2018

Try a Clean Commute!

Earth Day may be behind us but you can still do your part to improve our earth every day by cleaning up your commute.

On Friday, May 4th, pledge to leave your car at home for Clean Commute Day! This is environmentally-friendly day is  the perfect chance to try out a greener commuting option. Carpool, take the bus, walk or ride your bike and you will make a difference! Clean Commute Day is a regional competition between Greater Lansing, Grand Rapids, Southeast Michigan, and Southwest Michigan. Each region is competing for the title of Michigan’s “Cleanest-Commuting Community.” Help your region win by taking the pledge below. You’ll be entered to win great prizes! Check out the prizes by clicking on the location you commute to, above.

Why You Should Do It

  • Try a new way to get around.
  • Help reduce ozone pollution in your region.
  • Reduce your stress level by commuting with other people.
  • Save money by spending less on gas.
  • Win great prizes like gift cards and ticket vouchers.

Register now to clean up your commute on May 4!

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The Wave Q&A Series: How Will Transfers Work With The Wave?

Wave Transfers

We’re answering your most pressing questions about The Wave! Read more here

Transfers on The Rapid are changing! When you use The Wave, you will no longer need a paper ticket to connect to your other routes.

How will transfers work for Wave users?

Wave users can say goodbye to paper transfers!

With The Wave, you will not need a paper transfer to connect to your other buses. The transfer timeframe is built directly into your Wave card. This means no more waiting for transfers to print or fumbling with them at the farebox.

Transferring with The Wave

Using your Wave card is simple. Just tap every time you board the bus. With your first tap on, you will have access to a paperless transfer timeframe of 1 hour and 45 minutes (105 minutes). This means that you will have 105 minutes of time to ride wherever you’d like—yes, even on the same route. Think of it as paying once to ride an unlimited amount for 105 minutes.

Just check the time on the reader to know when you will be charged for another ride and don’t forget to tap your Wave card every time you board.

Non-Wave Users

If you choose to continue to pay cash fare and not use The Wave, eventually paper transfers will be eliminated. This means you will have to pay a single-ride fare each time you board a bus. This is due to the fact that our fareboxes will eventually not produce any kind of paper output.

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

 

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May 2018 Route and Service Changes

route-service-changes

Route 14 and 50 will be undergoing some changes this May.

Route 50 Bus Stop Changes

Beginning on May 1, 2018, Route 50’s Pew Campus bus stops on Front Street will be changing. There will be two separate bus stops on Front Street—one for each direction of travel.

— Eastbound Route 50 bus stop: A new bus stop sign will be placed just east of the curb cutout this will be the eastbound stop for those riding The Rapid to CHS at Michigan and Lafayette.

— Westbound Route 50 bus stop: The existing bus stop under the expressway at the curb cutout will become the westbound stop where you can ride The Rapid to Allendale/Kirkhof.

Route 50 Routing Adjustment

Route 50 New Routing

Also taking place on May 1, 2018, Route 50 will travel Michigan, left on Coit, right on Hastings and right on Lafayette back to Michigan. This change is in place due to construction taking place this spring near CHS.

The bus will no longer have dwell time by CHS.

Route 14 Routing Change

Route 14 new routing

Beginning on May 7, 2018, Route 14 will no longer travel Michigan to Plymouth. This change is being made to better serve the Oak Industrial Drive area.

The new eastbound routing:

Route 14 buses will travel Lakeside, turn right on Michigan, left on Maryland, left on Oak Industrial, right on Plymouth.

Westbound routing will be the same but in reverse.

 

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Ride The Rapid to these Transit-Friendly April 2018 Events

Ride The Rapid in April 2018

April is here! Ride with us to these events throughout Grand Rapids and the suburbs.

Zoobilee at the John Ball Zoo

Spend your spring break at John Ball Zoo! From April 2-6, enjoy a week filled with animal demonstrations, games, arts and crafts, and more. View admission prices here.

Route 12 and 50 can get you to John Ball Zoo.

Grand Rapids Coffee Crawl

Calling all coffee lovers! This is the crawl for you. From April 5-8, explore local coffee shops and try different blends of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, all while benefiting the Heartside Gleaning Initiative. General tickets for this event are $15 and just $12 for students. All of the coffee shops are located within our bus service area. Get your ticket here.

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

West Michigan Pet Expo

Do you have animal lovers in your family? Ride Route 9 to the DeltaPlex Arena on April 7-8. The West Michigan Pet Expo will feature pet-related vendors, rescue organizations, pet meet-and-greets and fundraising activities! There will even be live events.

Route 9 can get you a short walk from the DeltaPlex!

8th Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival

The Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival is returning for its eighth season from April 6-8 at Wealthy Theatre. This 3-day festival will feature 9 recent films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay and Venezuela. Many of the films will also feature question-and-answer sessions with directors and a panel discussion with special guests. This festival is free to the public and all films will be presented with English subtitles.

See the film schedule and learn more here.

Route 5 can get you there.

Grand Rapids Film Festival

This festival brings quality entertainment and transformative films to our community! This 3-day celebration kicks off with a signature event featuring short films at The Waldron on Ionia with the following day featuring a variety of films at Wealthy Street and a final day of storytelling about the power of film. Prices vary for each event.

View the full event schedule and learn more here.

Plan your trip!

Art & Chocolate Walk

On April 20, ride The Rapid to Grandville for the Art & Chocolate Walk! This event is a great opportunity to explore Downtown Grandville with more than 20 venues displaying art and chocolate and beverage tasting stations. There will also be musical performances from Grandville Students, chalk artists, swing dancing and more!

There will be $3 Sips & Bits cards available for purchase the night of and the week before at Grandville City Hall.  One card per person = a sample chocolate or beverage at each of the 20 art locations.  $1 from every card purchased goes to the Grandville Education Foundation.

Route 8, 24 and 28 can get you to Grandville!

Earth Day at Blandford Nature Center

On April 21, celebrate Earth Day at Blandford Nature Center from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Ride Route 7 to explore all that Blandford has to offer for free!

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

Color of the Year Presented by Pantone and X-Rite at UICA

This Celebrate the innovative exhibition, Color of the Year presented by Pantone and X-Rite, with an opening reception on April 6 at the UICA. Stroll the galleries and explore the works on view inspired by the 2018 PANTONE® Color of the Year, meet and mingle with the artists, and enjoy small bites from Reserve Wine and Food, Mokaya, The Cakabakery and a cash bar. Enjoy music by DJ Romy Glazer and complimentary Ultra Violet-inspired makeup and nails by Coiffeteria Salon. Fresh floral designs by A Growing Frenzy will also be view during the lively event.

This exhibit will run through July.

Routes 1, 4, 14, 13, 14 and 15 can get you to the UICA.

Play, Learn, Explore: Early Childhood Resource Fair

Play, learn and explore on April 28 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.! This free event takes place at Kent Career Technical Center. Bring your children to take part in fun activities, as well as access to many valuable programs, resources and organizations. There will be an onsite signup for free preschool, free vision and hearing screenings for toddlers and a range of early childhood information.

This FREE event includes fun activities for families and children as well as access to many valuable programs, resources, and organizations.

Ride Route 15 to get to the Kent Career Technical Center.

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The Wave Q&A Series: What will Happen to Tickets and Passes?

What will happen to tickets and passes?

Electronic fare payment will be arriving soon. So what does that mean for The Rapid’s current tickets and passes?

What will happen to tickets and passes?

Don’t fret. Tickets and passes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

When we roll out The Wave this spring, there will be no immediate changes to current ticket sales. You will still be able to purchase all ticket types in the same way you currently are now. The Wave will just be another fare payment option available to you!

It’s our hope that when The Wave is fully launched and available to purchase, you will give it a try and enjoy the benefits enough to make it your main fare payment for riding The Rapid!

The Future of Tickets & Passes

It’s our goal to eventually discontinue the sale of paper tickets and passes. We don’t have a set timeline for this but we would not take place until we have fully transitioned the majority of The Rapid’s riders to The Wave e-fare system. And even after the discontinuation of ticket sales, we would still continue to accept tickets onboard buses for a significant period of time.

GO!Bus and PASS tickets will not be impacted by The Wave at this time.

Transfers

As for paper transfers, these will eventually disappear for those who are not utilizing The Wave. When we move away from tickets and passes, cash fare users will not have access to paper tranfers anymore and will be required to pay a single-ride fare each time they board the bus.

Wave Cardholders will have access to a paperless transfer timeframe of 1 hour and 45 minutes (105 minutes). This means that with one tap of The Wave card, you will have 105 minutes of time to ride wherever you’d like, with unlimited transfers—yes, even on the same route.

As a reminder, some of the benefits of The Wave include balance protection in case you lose your card, auto-load so you’re never stuck without a fare and paying your way one trip at a time.

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

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Bus Driver Appreciation Day: The Rapid’s Bus Operator of the Year Yemny G.

Yemny

The recipient of The Rapid’s 2018 Bus Operator of the Year Award is an El Salvadoran native who’s made the American dream come true in Grand Rapids.

Yemny Garcia was born in Central America’s smallest country and came to the United States when she was 11 before arriving in Michigan 14 years later. Today, the Grand Rapids mother of three daughters is being recognized with The Rapid’s highest honor for public service on National Bus Driver Appreciation Day.

“The Rapid’s bus operators like Yemny keep our community moving,” said Michael Bulthuis, The Rapid’s Marketing and Communications Manager. “They maneuver through traffic and weather conditions of all kinds to get our riders safely to work, school, appointments, and everything in between. And on top of ensuring the safe and timely arrival of passengers to destinations, they also must check fares, give directions, and ensure that the needs of passengers are met accordingly.

“Let’s be honest, bus operators make multitasking look second nature. And most do it all with a smile – especially Yemny,” Varga said. “I’m proud to say Yemny Garcia epitomizes the hard-work ethic that demonstrates all the qualities we celebrate on National Bus Driver Appreciation Day.”

The Rapid’s annual Bus Operator of the Year Award is based on monthly performance reviews of the Greater Grand Rapids public transportation system’s approximately 300 drivers by supervisory staff in combination with peer driver input. Garcia earned the accolade based on her winning attitude and willingness to help passengers over her 12-year employment record with The Rapid.

Garcia, who praised her mother for inspiring her to pursue a bus driver career in the historically male-dominated public transit operator industry, credited her colleagues and the passengers she greets daily for motivating her to do her best.

“It’s amazing, it’s a privilege,” Garcia said about the award. “To my passengers, thank you for riding The Rapid. Thank you for being part of this community. So, respect us, value us, as we are. And for our drivers, keep on doing the good work every day we go out there.”