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Introducing the ArtPrize Metro Pass

ArtPrize passengers showing off their wristbands in 2014.

With more than 400,000 visitors expected to descend on downtown Grand Rapids for ArtPrize, the international art competition has decided by public vote and expert jury recently shared their plan for affordable, accessible, and environmentally-friendly transportation solutions in 2015. ArtPrize encourages visitors to seek alternative transportation options including walking, biking and public transportation as they explored the event from September 23 to October 11.

The ArtPrize Metro Pass will replace the familiar Wristbands at the ArtPrize Seven event—good for unlimited rides on the Silver Line and 10 free rides on all of The Rapid’s fixed routes during the 19-day event. At $5 each, Metro Passes come bundled with an Event Guide—the first stop for learning about the event, the awards, and how to delve into the ArtPrize experience—allowing visitors to leave their vehicles behind before entering the bustle of ArtPrize. Event Guides and Metro Cards will go on sale at seven area Meijer stores, which also serve as Park & Ride locations, on September 13—and then soon after at the ArtPrize HUB and Voting Sites.

“With box fares at each station and countdown clocks to tell you exactly when the next bus is coming, the Silver Line offers an easy way to get around downtown quickly, even during the height of the ArtPrize bustle,” commented Todd Herring, ArtPrize Director of Creative and Communications. “Nearly 250,000 rides were provided to ArtPrize visitors who took advantage of Grand Rapids’ public transportation systems during last year’s event. The Rapid is an important partner of ArtPrize. Their transportation offerings are an essential service to ArtPrize visitors and a key component to any world-class city.”

Officials will also continue the Rapid Rides to ArtPrize program, supported by The Rapid, Blue Cross Blue Shield of and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. This program provides 5,000 free Event Guides and 10,000 ArtPrize Metro Passes to members of the community based on financial need.

Visitors are once again encouraged to venture off the beaten path through the ArtPrize Pathways located throughout downtown. For those with mobility in mind, Access Art Pathway will return for a second year to ensure that individuals who use wheelchairs, walker, or strollers can enjoy ArtPrize without barriers. Those using bicycles as a means of transport will also have access to bike valet services at the ArtPrize HUB.

To learn more about ArtPrize and all the event has to offer, read their full blog: http://www.artprize.org/blog/artprize-promotes-alternative-transportation-solutions-at-seventh-annual-event.

Will you be riding with us to ArtPrize?

Posted in Silver Line on

Cheers to One Year: The Silver Line Celebrates One Year of Service

The Silver Line bus in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Michigan’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) line hit the road August 25, 2014. Today we are wishing the Silver Line a very happy first birthday!

Offering rail-like convenience, the Silver Line’s 10 dedicated BRT vehicles have traveled more than 370,000 miles in the first year of service. Traveling to 18 stations in Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Wyoming, the Silver Line has provided an estimated 675,000 rides to passengers going to work, school, medical facilities, and much more. Since it’s launch date, the Silver Line has also had an average of 2,300 rides per weekday.

 The Silver Line by the numbers.

Where does the Silver Line take you?

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Service Changes Coming on August 31, 2015

At the end of August, several Rapid routes will undergo changes to routing, schedules, and stop locations. The following changes will go into effect on August 31, 2015:

ROUTE 2: Schedule times will be adjusted along the route in an effort to enhance schedule adherence.

ROUTE 8 & 44 STOP RELOCATION: The bus stop at RiverTown Crossings is being relocated to the east end of Macy’s on the front side of the mall.

ROUTE 28: The westbound routing will be changing to the following:
Westbound: 28th Street west to cross over Ivanrest, right on Wallace to Chicago Dr., left on Chicago Dr., to Wilson, left on Wilson to Grandville Library.

Route 28

ROUTE 44: Route will be changing to the following:
Westbound: Wilson to 44th, left on 44th to Canal, left on Canal to Lowes.
Eastbound: Canal to 44th, right on 44th to Wilson, right on Wilson to RiverTown Crossings.

Route 44

ROUTE 50: This route will no longer go to Rapid Central Station and will transition to Laker Line routing.
Westbound from Lafayette (CHS): Lafayette to Hastings, left on Hastings to Coit, left on Coit to Michigan, right on Michigan to Monroe, left on Monroe to Fulton, right on Fulton to Laker Michigan to Allendale GVSU campus (Kirkhof).
Eastbound from Kirkhof: Campus Drive to Lake Michigan, Lake Michigan to Fulton, right on Fulton to Monroe, left on Monroe to Michigan, right on Michigan to Lafayette, left on Lafayette.

Westbound stops: Center for Health Sciences, Michigan & Bostwick, Monroe & DeVos Place, Monroe  &  Louis, Pew Campus: Fulton & Mt. Vernon, Fulton & Garfield, Lake Michigan & Covell, Lake Michigan & Oakleigh, Lake Michigan & Collindale, Lake Michigan & Bayberry Apartments, Lake Michigan & Kinney, Lake Michigan & Wilson (Meijer), North Campus & Ravine Center, North Campus & Mackinac Hall, Kirkhof Center

Eastbound stops: Kirkhof Center, North Campus & Ravine Center, Lake Michigan & Wilson (Meijer), Lake Michigan & Kinney, Lake Michigan & Collindale, Lake Michigan & Bona Vista Drive, Lake Michigan & Covell, Fulton & Garfield, Pew Campus: Fulton & Mt Vernon, Monroe & Louis, Monroe & DeVos Place, Michigan & Bostwick, Lafayette at CHS.

Route 50

ROUTE 51 HILL DASH: This route will now run from 6:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on a 15-minute cycle. Hill Dash will no longer travel to the CHS building. The new routing will include travel on Michigan to Barclay, turn right on Barclay, and continue on current routing back to Seward.

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Behind The Scenes: A Look at The Rapid’s Detour Process

 

During the warmer months in Michigan, it seems like everywhere you turn there’s construction underway. While Michigan’s famed “construction season” is important to transportation infrastructure, it can be a challenge for transporting our passengers where they need to go in a safe and timely manner. Have you ever wondered what the process is behind your route’s detour?

We wanted to go beyond the closed bus stop and temporary detour alerts to give you a better understanding of what goes into our detour process. We spoke with Charles Booker, a Rapid Transportation Supervisor, who also manages our detours. Charles not only shares insight, but also some tips for catching a detoured bus. Watch the full video below:

Some takeaways:

-   Direct communication with cities and construction crews is crucial to the prompt creation and maintenance of detours.
-   Closed bus stops on detoured routes are “bagged” to inform passengers that they’re inaccessible during the detour.
-   Our Transportation Supervisors choose alternative routes for buses that are both safe and convenient for passengers.
-  Every street corner along a detoured route serves as a bus stop.
-  Flag the bus operator down when waiting at a street corner along a detoured route.
- Check ridetherapid.org for detours on your route before leaving your house OR sign up to receive RapidConnect service messages and alerts about your route directly to your phone via SMS text message or by email.

Have you signed up to receive RapidConnect alerts yet?

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: Ride Guide for August 1 – 7

www.ridetherapid.org

Kick off August the right way by enjoying all that Grand Rapids has to offer in terms of music, food, and fun. As always, we’ll drive.

- August 1 —  Chefs at the Market
Start your weekend off on the right note with a freshly prepared meal from chefs at the Downtown Market.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 2 & within walking distance from Rapid Central Station.

- August 2  — Brunch, Brews and a Movie: Taxi Driver
Start your Sunday off right in downtown Grand Rapids. For $20 you’ll receive an entree and choice of drink at Grand Rapids Crewing Co. and a ticket to a screening at the UICA.

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

- August 3 — Jazz in the Park
Located at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, this concert series offers a chance to enjoy the sounds of classic jazz outdoors.

Routes nearby: 7, 9, 50–please be mindful of route detours.

- August 4 — Cartoonists of Grand Rapids Exhibits
Learn about the cartoonists from Grand rapids and their work in this new exhibit drawn from Grand Rapids History and Special Collections Department.

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

- August 5 — 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.

- August 6 — GRAM on the Green — Grupo Aye
Liven up your Thursday with some free music, admission to the GRAM, a cash bar, and more.

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

- August 7 — 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

New Study: 75% of Americans Support Using Tax Dollars to Improve Public Transit Infrastructure

Students boarding Route 50 at GVSU.

American support for public transportation infrastructure is on the rise.

Recently, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), in conjunction with the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), released a study which underscores the public’s need for access to reliable public transportation and demonstrates broad support for investment in the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure. Its analysis shows that over 75 percent of Americans support using tax dollars to create, expand and improve public transportation in their communities, and that close to 70 percent believe Congress should increase the level of investment for public transportation infrastructure.

“It is time for Congress to recognize the clear message from Americans around the nation: we support investing our tax dollars to expand and maintain our public transportation systems,” said Michael Melaniphy, President and CEO of APTA. “Investing in our public transit infrastructure is a key ingredient to growing the economy in our local communities.  It is about creating jobs and improving the access to those jobs.  This can only happen with long-term investment.”

The report, The Benefits of Transit in the United States: A Review and Analysis of Benefit-Cost Studies, found that transit services provide significant, measurable net benefits in various operating environments:
-  Transit benefits often substantially exceed costs in rural and small urban areas–not just big cities.

-  Transit typically pays for itself in congestion relief benefits for mid- to large-sized urban areas.

-  Jobs and economic stimulus are among the largest benefit categories of transit.

-  Transit improves health care access and outcomes while reducing costs.

-  Transit saves money, with transit in larger urban areas benefiting more people.

In addition to demonstrating the American public’s support for investments into our country’s transportation infrastructure, the Mineta Institute and APTA study also highlights the value public transportation adds to communities across the country. Here are some important percentages to consider:

-  More than 80 percent agreed that public transportation provides an affordable way for people to get around;

-  According to more than 82 percent, public transportation provides people with vital connections to important resources like jobs, schools, and medical facilities;

-  Roughly 80 percent said that public transportation connects people to jobs, and thus helps to fuel economic growth and development.

-  Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed stated that public transportation creates a cleaner environment and reduces carbon emissions.

MTI conducted 1,503 telephone interviews with individuals across the United States.  The margin of error for the total sample is ± 2.53 percentage points, at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups will have larger margins of error.

Read the full report here: http://transweb.sjsu.edu/PDFs/research/1425-US-transit-benefit-cost-analysis-study.pdf

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.