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GVSU Students: 6 Tips For A Smoother Ride This Winter

Pure Michigan weather is back to it’s regularly scheduled program of snow, ice, and bitter cold. If braving the roads isn’t your cup of tea then The Rapid is a great option for commuting to campus, work, or just for fun. Recently the Grand Valley Lanthorn shared some recommendations to ensure your ride on The Rapid is as smooth as possible. Remember, the bus is free for all GVSU students, faculty and staff with a valid I.D.:

1. Be Courteous

It can be stressful trying to find a spot to sit or stand. If the bus is crowded, try to walk all the way to the back and avoid saving a seat for your backpack to make more space available for others. Keep your eye out for someone who might need a seat more than you do. Another piece of advice: avoid talking on the phone loudly. Chances are fellow riders will not want to hear all about your latest problems and concerns.

2. Be Safe

Riders should stay seated until they reach their destination. However, if the bus is crowded and standing is necessary, remember to hold onto either the overhead strap or the bars to the side. Balance will save you from falling on a stranger and creating an awkward situation. Be aware of your surroundings while waiting and riding the bus. If you feel uncomfortable, sit up front behind the bus driver.

3. Be Timely

Planning ahead is crucial, especially during peak times and when you are heading to an important appointment. For GVSU routes, the peak times for Monday through Thursday are 9 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Fridays are busy around 9 a.m. and noon, generally tapering off as it gets later in the afternoon.

4. Be Knowledgeable

Plan your route ahead of time so that you know when to pull the cord to signal to the driver that you will be exiting at the next stop. Don’t be afraid to ask the driver any questions about your route. Learn the bus schedule so that you don’t have to wait outside in the cold for longer than necessary. The Route 50 buses run every six minutes on weekdays and about every hour on weekends. Check for more specific times.

5. Be Careful

When you get ready to exit, remember to gather all of your personal items and winter accessories you brought along during your ride. Left something behind? All forgotten items are kept at Central Station. You can call The Rapid Information line at (616) 776-1100 anytime Monday through Friday between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m or contact or contact Lost & Found online.

6. Get The App

Want to know exactly when the bus will arrive? Search for The Rapid bus routes on the MyStop app (iPhone only) or the Transit App (iPhone or Android). Don’t have a smartphone? Check Rapid Connect your computer’s internet browser before heading to the bus stop.

Environmental and economic reasons to ride The Rapid

– Public transportation can save the U.S. 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline every year, reducing dependence on oil.
– The Rapid saves the GVSU community over 2 million rides, 20 million vehicle miles and $11 million in vehicle operating costs.
– Park and Ride: GVSU students, faculty and staff can park in marked areas and ride the bus to campus for free. The Standale Meijer and the Walker Fire Station have parking designated for this purpose. However, it is best to avoid overnight parking, as the vehicle may be ticketed or towed. This can help save gas money, avoid purchasing a parking pass and reduce emissions.
– The Rapid has five hybrid-electric buses operating with green roofs to protect the environment by burning less fuel and emitting fewer pollutants into the air. The Rapid also uses ultra-low sulfur diesel, which emits 90 percent less pollutants than before.
– The buses feature a battery-powered electric motor that provides most of the power at slower speeds and a smaller clean diesel engine that takes over at higher speeds.

Rapid Statistics
– Fiscal Year 2014
– Total Riders: 2.9 million
– Route 50: 1.4 million
– Route 50 riders per day: 9,866 students (average) with 14 buses on the 24-mile loop
– Route 37: 525,435
– Route 48: 753,234
– Route 51: 222,085

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.