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Halloween 2016 Photo Contest

Halloween at The Rapid

Happy (almost) Halloween!  We’re looking forward to another year of seeing your awesome costumes and getting you to your Halloween destination.

Once again, we’re hosting a Halloween giveaway! Ride The Rapid on Halloween (Monday, Oct. 31) and find a bus operator dressed in costume. Snap a photo of the operator via a selfie, photo before you board, or if you’re feeling shy, a photo from the mirror above the bus operator. Share it to our Facebook timeline to be entered to win a 31-Day Pass, tote bag, and mug! You will have from Monday, Oct. 31 to 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 1 to post the photo to our page. Only once photo contest entry per passenger will be considered.

The winner will be chosen through a random drawing. Happy riding!

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Blandford Nature Center Offers Fun for the Whole Family

Blandford Nature Center

Changing leaves, cool weather, this season is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors. There’s no better place to take in nature in Grand Rapids than Blandford Nature Center.

Located at 1715 Hillburn Ave. NW in Grand Rapids, Blandford Nature Center sits on more than 140 acres of woodland leased from the City of Grand Rapids. This charitable organization uses the land and wildlife as the perfect backdrop to provide quality environmental education and community programs. Along with gorgeous trails, Blandford is also home to nearly 30 animals that can be found in West Michigan wildlife. All of these animals are non-releasable due to injuries or integration into human care.

When families need a break from the outdoors, they can check out the Visitor’s Center. The nature center has classes, festivals, and other activities year round so there’s always something going on for people of all ages.

Thrifty Thursday Deal

We’ve partnered with FOX17 and Blandford Nature Center to bring you a Thrifty Thursday special that’s perfect for autumn. They’re offering up free general admission to their facility for those who visit their Facebook page! Head over to Blandford Nature Center’s Facebook page to download the voucher. You can either provide it on your mobile device or print it.

The Visitor’s Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. The voucher expires on November 30 and excludes admission to special events or programs.

If you fall in love with Blandford Nature Center during your visit, you can become a member. Blandford memberships range in price from $25 to $1000 yearly with several levels. Membership benefits include year-round admission, special member pricing for programs and workshops, priority registration for CSA Farm Share program and much more.

Ride Route 7 to get there! Plan your trip.

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Children & Public Transportation

Children at Rapid Central Station

Children are our future. At The Rapid, we’re focused on educating them about public transportation, as well as being environmentally-friendly and getting around the community. We do this through our travel training and public outreach programs. Students at Rapid Central Station

Recently, three student groups from the West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science recently took a field trip to downtown Grand Rapids. To get a better sense of their community, the second graders and their teachers hopped on board eastbound Route 7 to Central Station.  One of their stops was with us at Rapid Central Station. For many of the children, this was their first experience riding The Rapid and learning about public transportation.

“I met the group on the Rapid Central Station platform to speak with them about how our system works and why it is important to our community,” said Michael Bulthuis, The Rapid’s Public Outreach Coordinator of Community.

When we meet with students, we always make sure to share that there’s more to riding the bus than simply getting on board. We talk about how public transportation helps decrease the number of cars on the road, which reduces pollution and impacts your carbon footprint. Another important element we try to share with students and people of all ages is that riding the bus helps you meet other people in the community. Our tours also offer a chance for people of all ages to learn about LEED certification. Did you know that Rapid Central Station and Rapid Operations Center were constructed with recycled materials and have several features that benefit the environment?

Children outside of Rapid Central Station“Leading tours for students is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Seeing the children’s energy and willingness to ask questions during their visit is a good reminder that we as adults should all maintain a certain sense of youthful curiosity. I also believe it’s important for children to learn about our diverse community, and how riding the bus at an early age offers them a great opportunity to begin exploring that diversity.” said Bulthuis.

If you know of a group that could benefit from learning more about public transportation, contact us!

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Grand Rapids Griffins Free Ride Fridays

Grand Rapids Griffins

Hey, hockey fans! The Grand Rapids Griffins kick off their 2016-2017 season tonight.

This year, we’re once again offering free rides to Grand Rapids Griffins Friday home games at Van Andel Arena. This Free Ride Friday promotion gets you to and from the game at no cost to you. Just show your game ticket (paper or on your mobile device) to your bus operator when boarding.

You can plan your trip to Van Andel Arena by visiting and using our RapidConnect Trip Planning tools, as well as simply planning your trip on Google Maps (just choose the transit icon).

Happy riding!

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Places to go: Kid-Friendly Halloween Destinations

Halloween Destinations Ride The Rapid

Calling all ghouls, ghosts and goblins! Have your children picked their costumes yet?

Everyone’s favorite spooky holiday is just around the corner. This Halloween, there are so many kid-friendly events to check out throughout Grand Rapids and the suburbs. Since riding the bus is an adventure for kids of all ages, we suggest getting on board and riding The Rapid to visit some frighteningly fun Halloween events. Whether you’re in search of treats or a full-fledged Halloween experience, there’s something for every kid to love.

First time ride with us? No problem. We have all the details about how to ride available on As for fares, a single fare is $1.75. While children under 42″ tall ride for free with a paying adult. If you’re planning to ride with us for a round trip or visit several destinations along a route or during a trip, we suggest purchasing an unlimited 1-Day Pass for $3.50. If you have several family members joining you, a 10-Ride Ticket for $13.50 may suit your needs since the rides can be used for more than one person.

Here are some great Halloween events to check out:

Zoo Goes Boo at John Ball Zoo

Visit John Ball Zoo on Oct. 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30 for loads of Halloween fun including trick-or-treat, activities and animals. Admission is $8.00 for non-members and $3.00 for members. Children under two years of age get in for free.

Ride Routes 12 or 50 to get there.

Halloween Storytime at Barnes & Noble

On Oct. 22, ride The Rapid to Barnes & Noble at Woodland Mall at 11:00 a.m. to celebrate Halloween with storytime and activities.

Plan your trip.

Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree at the Downtown Market

Celebrate all things autumn at the Downtown Market on Oct. 22 and 23. This event features professional pumpkin carvers at work, face painting for kids, pumpkin-themed classes, cooking demos and bars, and more.

Ride Routes 1, 2 and the Silver Line to get there.

Van Andel Arena’s 20th Anniversary Halloween Open House

Ride The Rapid to Van Andel Arena for Halloween fun and an anniversary celebration you don’t want to miss. Don’t forget to come in costume because activities include costume contests, live DJ, trick-or-treating, bag decorating and more. Be one of the first 5,000 people to arrive to enjoy a free hot dog, popcorn and Pepsi. The first 2,000 people will be given a celebratory birthday cupcake.

Just steps away  from Rapid Central Station.

Bethany Christian Services Trunk N’ Treat 

Come out for some treats for this rain-or-shine Halloween activity on Oct. 26 from 5 – 7 p.m.

Ride Route 15 to get there.

Trick or Treat at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Bring your kids to GRCM for an unforgettable trick-or-treat outing through the museum! You’ll get a chance to create spooky art, decorate a treat bag and more.

Ride  Routes 1, 4, 6, 14, 15 and the Silver Line to get there.

hOWLween at Blandford Nature Center

Kids can get an up-close look at Blandford Nature Center animals after dark on Thursday, Oct. 27 from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. This event is for ages seven or older.

Ride Route 7 to get there.

The Boo Bash at Gymco!

Visit Gymco! from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Oct. 29, visit! for Halloween-themed games, fun in the gym and a pizza dinner are included, costumes encouraged with comfy clothes underneath. $27/members, $32/non-members, sibling discounts available.

Ride Routes 5 or 24 to get there.

Kid’s Night Out Boo Bash at MVP Sportsplex

From 5:30 – 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 28, ride with your kids to MVP Sportsplex for a night of fun night for potty-trained kids ages three-to-eleven years old to come enjoy a night of spooky games, trick-or-treating, swimming, pizza and more (must pre-register)! Cost: Members $20/ Non-Members $26. MVP Sportsplex, 4035 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids.

Ride Route 24 to get there.

Monster Mash at The Salvation Army Kroc Center

Ride The Silver Line in your favorite costume to the Kroc Center for the annual trick-or-treat celebration on Oct. 28. Enjoy some “trunk-or-treating” fun that’s appropriate for the whole family. All children must be under the age of 12 to attend.

Route 1 or the Silver Line can get you there.


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Driverless Vehicles and the Future of Public Transportation

Driverless bus

How close is West Michigan to making driverless vehicles a reality? 

Recently, The Rapid’s CEO Peter Varga, as well as other community leaders, were asked about the probability of driverless vehicles becoming commonplace in West Michigan.

Peter Varga’s imagines for a world with less downtown traffic, parking congestion and more access to bus service for everyone. He’s not alone in his hopes. But can driverless technology may be the answer? In MLive’s recent piece on the future of driverless vehicles in West Michigan, Justin P. Hicks shares local insight gathered from recent conversations among community leaders.

In MLive’s recent piece on the future of driverless vehicles in West Michigan, Justin P. Hicks shares local insight gathered from recent conversations among community leaders.

“It’ll probably be five years before these questions get addressed and solved, and maybe in 10 years (they’re) commonplace,” said Stephen Kepley, Mayor of Kentwood. “I don’t know, but personally I would love to get more information on how the technology works.”

Learn more about how driverless vehicles fit into the future of public transportation for Grand Rapids and West Michigan as a whole. Read the full story.

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Instagram Roundup: September 2016

On the bus

We love Instagram. That’s right, we said it. The reason: It’s a chance to get a glimpse through someone else’s lens. As we’re nearing our 1,000 follower mark on Instagram, it’s only fitting to begin sharing the images we’re graced with every month that come from the views of our passengers. Enjoy!

Have you started following us yet? Check us out and tag us or use #ridetherapid next time you see us or ride with us: @ridetherapid.

we sound better than you or me // @ridetherapid

A video posted by Alexander Paolella (@bear.noises) on

Taking advantage of this chilly day to ride on the Silver Line down S. Division. #OnTheGroundGR #ridetherapid

A photo posted by Rapid Growth (@rapidgrowthmedia) on

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How to Get to ArtPrize Eight’s Top 20

ArtPrize Eight

From the Grand Rapids Art Museum to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, ArtPrize entries are scattered thoughtfully throughout Grand Rapids waiting to be discovered. It’s hard to believe the world’s most radically open art competition is in its final week.

ArtPrize’s eighth year may have been the rainiest in the event’s history, but it hasn’t stopped the nearly 32,000 visitors from casting more than 300,000 votes for their favorite art. On Sunday, Oct. 2, ArtPrize announced the 20 artist entries selected from 1,453 eligible works during the first round of public voting. These 20 finalists are competing for the public vote grand prize of $200,000, with $12,500 in the four respective category awards with the conclusion of round one voting. Round two voting is now open and running through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6.

It’s no surprise that some of the most loved entries from the public are located in highly trafficked areas throughout Grand Rapids. Get out and vote for your favorite piece. Ride with us to the top 20:


Amway Grand Plaza

  • Wounded Warrior Dogs at Amway Grand Plaza by James Mellick from Milford Center, OH
  • Imagine If at Amway Grand Plaza by Robin Protz from New Hartford, CT

Head to the beautiful Amway Grand Plaza Hotel to see these two unique and moving entries.

Located off of DASH and Routes 9, 11, 50 and the Silver Line to get there.

Barnes & Thornburg LLP

–    Invasive Species at Barnes & Thornburg LLP by Shiny Seed from Ann Arbor, MI

Located at the corner of Monroe and Pearl, this three-dimensional piece of art is hard to miss with the aluminum wire and LED lights.

Located off of DASH and Routes 9, 11, 50 and the Silver Line to get there.

The B.O.B.

–    Ashes to Ashes at The B.O.B. by Jacqueline Gilmore from Rockford, MI
–    Protect and Serve at The B.O.B. by Andrew J. Woodstock from Plainwell, MI

The Big Old Building is a versatile dining and entertainment destination worth checking out. This venue is located on Monroe  across from Van Andel Arena. Visit these ArtPrize entries and then grab a drink or some food before leaving.

Located near Routes 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 50 and the Silver Line to get there.

Brush Studio

–    Sweet Spot at Brush Studio by Causey Daniell Studio from Indianapolis, IN

Visit Brush Studio at 50 Louis NW for a look at this colorful installation.

Located near Routes 1, 4, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15, 50 and the Silver Line to get there.

The Courtyard Marriott Downtown

–    Hoot at Courtyard Marriott Downtown by Laurel Bahe from Colorado Springs, CO

Don’t miss this collaborative art piece located on Monroe avenue inside The Courtyard. More than 500 volunteers from the ArtPrize Audience have painted with the artist to create this entry.

Located near Routes 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 50 and the Silver Line to get there.

DeVos Place Convention Center

–   Portraits of Light and Shadow at DeVos Place Convention Center by Joao Paulo Goncalves from Pompano Beach, FL
–    The Butterfly Effect at DeVos Place Convention Center by Pettit Smith from Durango, CO

Travel to DeVos Place for these two stunning entries. One is a large installation and the other is a two-dimension piece made of wood. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

Located near Routes 11, 13, 19, 50 and the Silver Line to get there.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

–    Ditch Lily Drawing at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park by Nathan Lareau from Grand Rapids, MI

Need an excuse to visit Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park? Hop on board to check out this ArtPrize entry and enjoy all the destination has to offer while you’re there.

Located near Route 15. Please plan your travel accordingly as the bus stop is roughly half a mile from the destination.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

  • Continental U.S at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum by Valerie Hollstein from Salt Lake City, UT
  • Sand Sturgeon at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum by Gary Moran from New York, NY

These stunning two-dimensional entries are on display inside the museum. There’s also many other entries both inside and outside that are worth a second look.

Located near Routes 7, 9, 19 and DASH.

Grand Rapids Art Museum

  • Sweeper’s Clock at Grand Rapids Art Museum by Maarten Baas from Den Bosch, North Brabant, Netherlands
  •  CO
  • Higher Ground at Grand Rapids Art Museum by Hillerbrand+Magsamen from Houston, TX

Don’t’ miss these two entries while exploring the Final 20.

Located near Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, 50 and the Silver Line to get there.

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

  • Rock Around at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum by Aaron Zenz from Spring Lake, MI

This interactive art piece is a must-see entry. Play your own game of “I Spy” as you travel through Grand Rapids finding the other 500 rocks.

Located near Route 1, 4, 14, 15 and the Silver Line.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown

  • VICTORY at Homewood Suites by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown & Jam’n Bean Coffee Company at the Waters Center by THE CHAIRMen from Centennial, CO

Have you ever seen art with chairs? We’re guessing not. ArtPrize is a chance to experience unexpected art. This entry is nothing short of amazing.

Located near DASH shuttles and Routes 6, 9, 11 and 13.

Kilwins Chocolates & Ice-Cream at McKay Tower

This is more than just an art piece, it’s a temporary home. Find this ArtPrize entry located across the street from Rosa Parks Circle.

Located near Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, DASH and the Silver Line.

Peppinos Pizzeria & Sports Grille

  • Trout Bike at Peppinos Pizzeria & Sports Grille by Andrew Rockwood from Traverse City, MI

Have you seen the Trout Bike making its way around downtown Grand Rapids? Be on the look out as you’re visiting other ArtPrize venues.

Located near Routes 1, 2, 3, 6 and DASH shuttles.

SiTE:LAB | Rumsey St. Project

This installation entry is made up of motors, wood, rope, metal and power supplies. You can find it located within EVERYTHING IS TRANSFORMED. 

Located off of Routes 8, 10 and 16.

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA)

  • One Thousand Shacks at Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) by Tracey Snelling from Oakland, CA

Visit UICA to discover this mixed media sculptural installation. One Thousand Shacks shows the perilous situation that the world’s poor face.

Located near Routes 1, 4, 6, 14, 15 and DASH.

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: 10 Transit-Friendly October Events


Ah…autumn! Bring on the crisp weather, sweaters and falling leaves.Get the most out of the month of October by packing your event calendar with fun things to do.

Whether it’s taking in the art and culture of the city or doing something spooky for Halloween, The Rapid can get you there! Relax and leave your car at home or park it in one of the downtown Grand Rapids parking lots and get on board to ride with us for a relaxing trip to your destination. See you on board:

1. ArtPrize

Ride with us to enjoy the last week of ArtPrize Eight! Grand Rapids’ transformation into a giant art gallery last until Oct. 9. Enjoy art of all kinds and a chance to explore parts of downtown Grand Rapids you may have never been to before.

Plan your trip.

2. Blandford Nature Center Events

Get outside and explore this month! Blandford Nature Center has several events worth checking out. Falling Leaves takes place on Saturday, Oct. 1. Individuals of all ages can join a naturalist for a walk through the forest to identify common Michigan Plants. Following the hike there is a craft for kids. There’s also Blandford’s Harvest Festival, hOWLween at Blanford and more!

Route 7 can get you there. Plan your trip.

3. Ghosts of Grand Rapids Walking Tour

Join Ghosts of Grand Rapids authors for an evening of Grand rapids history mixed with the paranormal world. Ride The Rapid to get to Veteran’s Memorial Park for this $10 walking tour that will get you in the mood for Halloween.

Route 1, 4, 14, 15 and the Silver Line can get you there. Plan your trip.

4. GRCM Family Art Night

Visit the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum for family night! Admission is just $1.75 for this drop-in collaborative family art program. You and your family can create art to take home with you!

Route 1, 4, 14, 15 and the Silver Line can get you there. Plan your trip.

5. Meyer May Home Tour

Recurring weekly on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, this free tour lets you inside the famous Frank Lloyd Wright house located at 450 Madison Avenue SE. Take a step back in time to enjoy the beauty of this unique home.

Routes 3 and 5 can get you there. Plan your trip.

6. Yoga at GRAM

The Grand Rapids Art Museum has partnered up with AM Yoga to bring you this awesome event. Come out on Thursday evenings for Vinyasa-style yoga classes for all levels. Admission to the GRAM is free and you can ‘pay as you please’ to support yoga in the community.

Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, 50 and the Silver Line can get you there. Plan your trip.

7. Grand Rapids Comic-Con

Ride with us to DeVos Place from Oct. 21 – 23 for Grand Rapids’ very own comic and popular arts convention. Day tickets and weekend packages are available.

Routes 11, 13, 19, 50  and the Silver Line can get you there. Plan your trip.

8. Grand Rapids Fork Fest

On Oct. 20, get on board and ride to Romence Gardens & Greenhouses for the 6th Annual Fork Fest. This Local First event offers attendees a chance to sip, nibble and munch on offerings of more than 40 of West Michigan’s finest restaurants, farms, grocers, bakeries, breweries and more.

Route 14 can get you there. Plan your trip.

9. Holes

From Oct. 21 through Oct. 30, don’t miss this beloved book-turned-production at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. Journey with the main character to his strange life at a camp for troublesome boys to uncover a mysterious plot. Individual tickets range in price from $10-$16.

Routes 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15, and the Silver Line can get you there. Plan your trip.

10. Hope on the Hill

Celebrate Van Andel Institute’s 20th Anniversary on Oct. 27 with the 2016 Hope on the Hill Gala. The theme is The Great Gatsby, so get ready to enjoy a taste of the Roaring Twenties. Sample cuisine from Grand Rapids’ finest restaurants and catering companies. Enjoy live entertainment, dancing and knowing  you’re helping support biomedical research and science education programs.

Routes 11, 13, 15 and the Silver Line can get you there. Plan your trip.

Silver Line in Grand Rapids

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Park Once & Ride for Free around Downtown Grand Rapids


NPO Showcase – Mobile GR & Grand Rapids Parking Department from GRTV on Vimeo.

Don’t miss this GRTV NPO showcase segment with Grand Rapids Economic Development Services Managing Director Kara Wood. She shares the many changes that have been made to Grand Rapids’ parking and public transportation systems.

Seeking to alleviate traffic and parking downtown, changes were identified in the GR Forward Plan. While many have noticed parking rates at meters and city lots have increased, we have partnered with the City of Grand Rapids to increase and improve alternative transportation options. The DASH shuttle service has been expanded and rerouted to help encourage citizens to ‘Park Once’ and seek alternative transportation while getting around downtown. While the Silver Line’s No Fare Zone has been implemented north of Wealthy Street so travelers can ride at no cost around downtown.

Have you had a chance to try out these free transportation options downtown?