Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: Ride Guide for July 25 – 31

Amtrak Station in Grand Rapids, MI

Mark your calendars for the following transit-friendly events taking place throughout our service area:

- July 25—  Amtrak Train Days
All aboard! Visit the Vernon J. Ehlers Amtrak Station for a look into the past, present, and future of train travel.

Routes nearby: The Amtrak Station is just steps awau

- July 26 — Fulton Street Artisans Market
Discover local artists at this weekly event.

Routes nearby: 14

- July 27 — Grand Rapids: City of the Lived Experiment
Take some time to cool off from the summer head and learn more about one of history’s great fashion designers.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

- July 28 — Everyday Hero Multicultural Stories & Music
Visit the Grand Rapids Public Library for this interactive storytelling event.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 4, 6, 14, 15

- July 29 — Free Outdoor Fitness Classes: Yoga
Soak up the sunshine and enjoy some exercise outdoors either during your lunch hour or in the evening at Ah-Nab-Awen Park or the Blue Bridge.

Routes nearby: Plan your trip using RapidConnect.

- July 30 — 25th Anniversary of the ADA Signing
Join the celebration of the signing of the ADA! Disability-related service providers will be gathering to share information and teach the public about the importance of the ADA.

Routes nearby: 2, 44

- July 31 — Bus Stop by William Inge
Head to GRCC’s Spectrum Theater for the award-winning production of this play.

Route nearby: Silver Line, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15,

Where are we taking you this week?

Posted in News on

Travel Training: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Bus Familiarization

Did you know that all of our fixed-route buses are equipped with ramps?

Here at The Rapid we offer several programs to help those who may need some extra assistance using the bus. Whether you’re new to a mobility device or simply have never had the chance to get on board, our travel trainers are available to help you get to know your way around Rapid fixed-route buses through our Vehicle Familiarization program.

This free program provides you with an opportunity to spend time getting to know your way around an out-of-service Rapid bus. Sarah and Cari, The Rapid’s travel trainers, will not only guide you through the process of boarding, settling in, and deboarding, they will also be there to answer questions and share practical advice. You may even have time to get to know Rapid bus operator.

This week our travel trainer Sarah had the opportunity to get to know a family while doing vehicle familiarization. A passenger and her two sons joined Sarah and bus operator Patrick for some time spent on board a bus. The passenger shared that she is very excited to be trying the fixed-route option, as it would open up her family’s world and give them more freedom.

Kristen and Patrick chatting on board the bus. Trying out the driver's seat.

We are always thrilled to have a chance to meet our riders and give them the tools they need to succeed on board. If you’re interested in learning more about our travel training program, please visit http://www.ridetherapid.org/howtoride/traveltraining. You can also contract our travel training office directly by calling Sarah Green at 616-456-7514 or emailing her at sgreen@ridetherapid.org.

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: Ride Guide for July 18 – 24

Hook Movies In The Park

Mark your calendars for the following transit-friendly events taking place throughout our service area:

- July 18 —  Dark Side: The Light Show
Visit the galaxy from the most comfortable seat in the house at the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s first planetarium production.

Routes nearby: 7, 9, 12, 50

- July 19Fulton Street Artisans Market
Spend the day getting familiar with local artists.

Route nearby: 14

- July 20 — Jazz in the Park
Enjoy this free concert series at Ah-Nab-Awen Park featuring the West Michigan Jazz Society.

Routes nearby: 7, 9, 51

- July 21UICA Movie: Saint Laurent
Take some time to cool off from the summer head and learn more about one of history’s great fashion designers.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

- July 22Free Outdoor Fitness Classes: Zumba
Get out and dance on the Blue Bridge!

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 50

- July 23GRAM on the Green – Walter White
Make the most of your evening with this free outdoor event. Live music, free museum admission, a cash bar and more!

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 6, 9. 11, 13, 50

- July 24Movies in the Park – Hook
Nothing beats watching a movie under the stars. Don’t forget the snacks.

Routes nearby: 7, 9, 51

Where are we taking you this week?

Posted in News on

Comments Still Being Accepted for Proposed Fare Structure Change

Service improvements from 2008 to 2015.Thank you to everyone who joined us for our proposed fare structure change public hearings. We appreciate your comments, feedback, and the time you spent with us. For those who could not make it out to join us in-person, we are still accepting comments via email or mail until Wednesday, July 16, 2015. Please send comments to The Rapid Planning Department, 300 Ellsworth St. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 — or via email to info@ridetherapid.org.

While we detailed more information about the proposed change in a previous blog post, here is another look at the proposed fare structure change:

  • Cash fares proposed to change from $1.50 to $1.75
  • Reduced fare cash proposed to change from $0.75 to $0.85
  • Adult one-ride proposed to change from $1.50 to $1.75
  • Adult 10-ride proposed to change from $11.50 to $13.50
  • Student 10-ride ticket proposed to change from $9.00 to $10.50
  • Senior/persons with disabilities 10-ride proposed to change from $7.50 to $8.75
  • One-day pass proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.75
  • Seven-day pass proposed to change from $14.00 to $16.00
  • Regular 31-day pass proposed to change from $40.00 to $47.00
  • Reduced 31-day pass proposed to change from $26.00 to $30.00
  • GO!Bus proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.50
  • GO!Bus (non-disabled senior) proposed to change from $7.00 to $8.00
  • PASS proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.50

We understand that there may be concerns about this fare change, but we have to look at all options to continue to provide the level of services the community has come to rely on.  We appreciate your feedback as the Board considers this step.

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: Grandwich Edition

Grandwich sandwich competitionFoodies, you’ve got a full itinerary ahead of you!

Grandwich, the annual search for the best sandwich in Grand Rapids kicked off this week. This year restaurants were asked to be creative while featuring local products. With nearly two dozen entries, consider letting us do the driving to the many Grandwich destinations throughout the city so you can get your votes in.

 July 7 to July 14 — Participating restaurants will highlight their Grandwich feature entry on their menus. This means you can visit, try sandwiches and then vote online for your favorites.

Monday, July 27 — The Top 10 sandwiches will be announced.

Thursday, July 31 — A panel of give judges comprised of Grand Rapids celebrities and culinary professionals will announce the winner after visiting each of the top 10 restaurants to sample their entries.

1. Bagger Daves — Crispy Cheese Bacon Burger

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 50

2. Bar Divani — The Divani

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15, South DASH

3. Blue Dog Tavern — Westside Polish Pastrami Burger

Routes nearby: 9, 18

4. Bulls Head Tavern — Pulled Bacon Dutch Crunch

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 6, 9, 11, 19, 50,

5. CitySen Lounge — Ricky Ricardo

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 19

6. Cottage Bar — Loaded Grill Cheese

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 4, 14, 15,

7. Fish Lads — Michigan Po’ Boy

Routes nearby: Silver Line 1, 2

8. Flanagan’s Irish Pub — Grilled Strawberry & Goat Cheese Sandwich

Routes nearby: 9, 11, 19, 50, 51

9. Founders Brewing Co. — Skirt Steak Sandwich

Routes nearby: Located directly across the street from Rapid Central Station; most routes reach Founders.

10. Garage Bar and Grill — Brisket Sandwich

Route nearby: 7

11. Grand Rapids Brewing Company — The Peach Pitt

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 13, 14, 15

12. Grand Woods Lounge — Grand Bison Burger

Located just two blocks from Rapid Central Station.

13. HopCat — Club Monte Frisco

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

14. J. Gardella’s — The Edgar Pickled Po

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

15.McFadden’s — The Nawlins Sandwich

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

16. Peppino’s — Panino Estate

Routes nearby: 1, 2, 3

17. Raad’s Mediterranean Grill — Jambalaya Wrap

Routes nearby: 4, 6, 14

18. Rockwell Republic — Truffle Mushroom Burger

Routes nearby: 1, 3, 6, 13

19. San Chez Bistro — Cuban Pork Mojo

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

20. Sip Organic Juice Bar — The Sipster

Route nearby: 6

21. Stella’s Lounge — What Happens At Stella’s Stays At Stella’s

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15,

22. Tavern on the Square — The Tavern Quack

Routes nearby: 1, 2, 3 — also just a short walk away from Rapid Central Station.

23. The BOB – Bobarino’s | The Gilmore Collection — Revolution Burger

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 50,

24. The Cheshire Grill — Granny’s at The Grill

Route nearby: 11

25. Vault Express Cafe — Calder City Club

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 6, 11, 13, 19, 51

Learn more about Grandwich by visiting their website. Don’t forget to vote! http://www.grandwichgr.com/

Posted in Rider Stories on

14 Favorite Summer Destinations of Rapid Riders

Nothing quite beats summer in Michigan. Now that the warm weather is here to stay (for now), enjoy it by exploring all that the Greater Grand Rapids area has to offer. We reached out to our passengers via The Rapid Facebook page to find out where their favorite place to ride The Rapid was during summer months. Here’s what we found out:

1. Savannah S. – Downtown and sit by the river, get something to eat, and perhaps take another bus if we get tired and take in a street concert or movies in the park.”

2. Candace B. -  ”Out to Leonard to go to Blandford Nature Center.”

3. Shondreka L. -  ”Meijer – you walk into A/C  and get curbside service.”

4. Christopher R. - Downtown – food, movies in the park, libraries…”

5. Amanda Jo E. -  “Fulton Street Farmers Market, for sure.”

6. Stephanie S. – The library, Farmer’s market, and the POOL!”

7. Lisa C. -  ”To the movies.”

8. Latrice P. -RiverTown Mall!! My daughter and I love the long air conditioned ride.”

9. Lonitta B. ”Festival’s, so I don’t have to worry about parking downtown.”

10. Melissa G. -  ” John Ball Zoo.”

11. Ana L. - “Downtown Farmers Market!”

12. James M. -  ”Hispanic Festival, Grand Rapids, MI.”

13. Savannah S.  ”Downtown and sit by the river, get something to eat, and perhaps take another bus if we get tired and take in a street concert or movies in the park.”

14. Susie Y. “I enjoy picnicking by Reed’s Lake.”

Avoid the hassle of parking, get in a few extra steps in your daily exercise routine, and let us deal with the stress of driving! We suggest planning your trip in advance by using RapidConnect’s Trip Planner. See you on board!

Where do you love to ride the bus to in the summer?

Posted in News on

Public Hearings to be Held for Proposed Fare Structure Change

Since The Rapid was created in 2000,  we have expanded service a number of times. We’ve also asked voters to increase the amount of property taxes they contribute to the system, and they’ve agreed to do so four times in 15 years.  Fares have not been raised since 2008, and since that time, the cost of doing business has gone up. It’s now time to take a look at our fare structure to ensure that it too is keeping pace with the services we provide.  The Rapid will be holding public hearings at Rapid Central Station in the second floor Community Conference Room at 7:00 p.m. on July 14th and 7:00 a.m. on July 15th to gather public comment on the proposed fare increase.

The Rapid has three primary funding sources:  local property tax millage revenues, state operating reimbursement, and fares.  Over the past several years, the percentage of revenues that the first two items cover in our budget has gone down.  We have been looking at the expense side to do what we can to control costs, including changing our employee health plan and are moving toward the use of compressed natural gas (CNG)  buses to save fuel costs over the long term, but there is still a gap between our revenues and expenses.  We have been filling this gap with some capital funds to keep a balanced budget.  This is a temporary solution at best, one that is not sustainable long-term.  It also means those capital funds are not available for things like bus shelters, bike racks, or other facility needs.

In February of last year, the Rapid’s Board approved a Fare Policy which proactively established guidelines for evaluating fares.  Using that policy, staff has proposed the following:

  • Cash fares proposed to change from $1.50 to $1.75
  • Reduced fare cash proposed to change from $0.75 to $0.85
  • Adult one-ride proposed to change from $1.50 to $1.75
  • Adult 10-ride proposed to change from $11.50 to $13.50
  • Student 10-ride ticket proposed to change from $9.00 to $10.50
  • Senior/persons with disabilities 10-ride proposed to change from $7.50 to $8.75
  • One-day pass proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.75
  • Seven-day pass proposed to change from $14.00 to $16.00
  • Regular 31-day pass proposed to change from $40.00 to $47.00
  • Reduced 31-day pass proposed to change from $26.00 to $30.00
  • GO!Bus proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.50
  • GO!Bus (non-disabled senior) proposed to change from $7.00 to $8.00
  • PASS proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.50

If you can’t attend either one of the meetings, you can also submit written comments via email to info@ridetherapid.org or to the attention of the Planning Department, The Rapid, 300 Ellsworth Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI  49503.

We understand that there may be concerns about this fare change, but we have to look at all options to continue to provide the level of services the community has come to rely on.  We appreciate your feedback as the Board considers this step.

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: Ride Guide for June 27 – July 3

 Silver Line leaving Rapid Central Station.

Mark your calendars for the following transit-friendly events taking place throughout our service area:

- June 27 — Eastown Bizarre Bazaar
Get your fill of local artists, potters, sculptors, and jewelry designers in the heart of Eastown.

Routes nearby: 5, 6, 14

- June 28 — Kidstruction Zone at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
Dig up some fun with your kids in the kid-size construction site.

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15 

- June 29 — Jazz in the Park
Enjoy this free concert series at Ah-Nab-Awen Park featuring the West Michigan Jazz Society.

Routes nearby: 7, 9, 51–please be advised of detours.

- June 30 — GR Reads: The Movies — Harold and Maude
Enjoy this cult classic film at Wealthy Theatre.

Routes nearby: 5, 6

- July 1 — Free Funky Buddha Outdoor Yoga Class at Mangiamo!
Get outside and stretch your limbs at this awesome free yoga class.

Routes nearby: 6, 14

- July 2 — “Through the Eyes of Weidenaar”
Be curious at the Grand Rapids Public Museum as you discover the work of local artist and renowned printmaker, Reynold Weidenaar.

Routes nearby: 7, 9, 12, 50

- July 3 — First Friday Gallery Hops
South Division is the ultimate destination to discover artwork and local artists.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 5, 15

Where are we taking you this week?

Posted in Rider Stories on

Real Rider – Todd Y. Shares Why He Prefers Riding The Bus to Driving

Are you a Real Rider of The Rapid? If you’re interested in being featured as a part of our series, we’d love to hear from you. Submit your story for consideration by clicking the link on the right side of this blog. 

Riding The Rapid in Grand Rapids.

“I ride the bus because it’s convenient for me.”

Rapid Rider Todd Y. is relatively new to Grand Rapids, but access to the bus as a transit option has transformed the way he lives. As an Assistant Professor at Aquinas, he uses The Rapid as his main means of transportation to and from work, as well as a connection to extracurricular activities throughout the city. For Todd, getting on board is a convenient, reliable, and a chance for him to check out and enjoy a podcast or music. Like other riders in our Real Riders of The Rapid series, he noted that riding the bus makes him feel more connected to his community and offers him a chance to talk to people he wouldn’t get to meet if he was commuting via car.

“I would imagine the bus may be more reliable than I am at times,” said Todd Y. 

Learn more about why Todd prefers public transportation, how economics relates to transit and his favorite memory on board:

Why do you get on board?

Posted in In The Community on

Summer in the City: Getting to Know Public Transportation

Each summer the Michigan Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) hosts a youth program in Grand Rapids known as Summer in the City. Students from around the state travel to Grand Rapids for a week of learning that includes riding public transportation and exploring the community. Our Travel Trainers here at The Rapid were fortunate enough to meet with Summer in the City students and help familiarize them with using the bus as a means of transportation.

The students had the opportunity to get familiar with a Rapid fixed-route bus to practice proper boarding and deboarding, as well as learn more about the system and have an opportunity to ask questions.

One of The Rapid’s fixed-route buses being used for travel training.

Summer in the City students smile during their travel training session.

Summer in the City students smile during their travel training session.

Students getting to know The Rapid fixed-route buses.

Students getting to know The Rapid fixed-route buses.

Rapid bus operator Sherri helping students learn how to use the fareboxes.

Rapid bus operator Sherry helping students learn how to use the fareboxes.

Interested in learning more about The Rapid’s Travel Training program? Visit our website