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8 Habits for Safer Winter Bus Travel

Winter bus travel

Cold weather? Check. Snowfall? Check. Icy sidewalks and roads? Check. Wind? Double check. Winter is here and it isn’t going to be dissipating anytime soon.

Battling winter weather conditions as a bus rider is a daily challenge. Sometimes it involves trudging through uncleared sidewalks and waiting at the bus stop in -5-degree temperatures. As you travel in the snow and cold, there are a few good habits to practice to ensure smarter and safer winter travel. Here are some habits to develop to make your bus travel smoother and more comfortable:

1. Leave early and expect delays.

Winter weather conditions affect all traffic. If the roads are covered in snow and ice, we will work to get you safely and efficiently to your destination. However, buses can only move as fast as traffic and road conditions allow. Consider taking an earlier bus on snow days to ensure that you arrive at your destination on time.

2. Dress for the weather. 

Warm attire is essential to winter bus travel. Even a short wait at the bus stop in the winter can seem like ages if you’re not wearing the proper gear. Layering your clothing is a good start to insulating yourself from inclement weather. It also helps tremendously to have a waterproof jacket. Other must-have winter bus travel accessories include gloves, scarf, hat or other head and ear cover, and most importantly, snow boots. Since the bus will be nice and warm when it arrives, you want to remove your outerwear once you’re on board for a more comfortable ride.

3. Wait in a safe, cleared location.

When the weather is heavy, bus stops may be completely covered in snow and ice. If possible, avoid standing knee-deep in snow or on top of a snow mound while you wait. Find the nearest cleared area and flag your bus down as it approaches. Rapid bus operators are trained to pick up passengers in driveways or the nearest cleared area during poor weather conditions. Plus, your dry toes will thank you.

4. Stand back before boarding.

When your bus arrives, be sure to put some distance between you and the vehicle. Icy roads can lead to slipping wheels, so protect yourself by stepping back from the curb or arrival area and farther into the safe zone of the sidewalk.

5. Step carefully.

While our buses feature non-slip floors, it’s important to step with care regardless. Use handrails when boarding the bus to ensure your safety.

6.  Be kind to your bus operator.

Your bus operator may be running behind schedule, but we can assure you that he or she wants to make the line up at Rapid Central Station just as much as you do. Please be respectful to your bus operator despite delays. If your bus is behind schedule, remember that your operator is doing his or her best to make sure you arrive at your destination despite bad road conditions.

7. Bring something to keep you occupied.

Since poor road conditions always run the risk of delay, there’s a chance you may be on board for longer than you originally planned. Bring a book, notepad, headphones or anything else that helps keep you busy while you’re riding with us.

8. Stay connected to service information.

 Before you leave to catch your bus, get the latest updates on detours:
– Check the Alerts & Detours page on
– Track your bus in real time and check public service message on Rapid Connect.
– Call 776-1100 to speak to a Rapid Customer Information Representative.
– Sign up to get route alerts and public service messages to your email inbox or via text message.
– Follow The Rapid on Twitter and/or Facebook.
– Check local TV and radio stations when severe weather conditions occur.

Written by The Rapid

The Rapid (Interurban Transit Partnership) is the authority that provides a variety of public transportation services for the Grand Rapids metro area and beyond. It is organized and operates under Michigan Public Act 196 of 1986.