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Introducing The Wave: The Rapid’s New E-Fare System

Catch The Wave reader

Faster, easier and more convenient fare payment is coming to The Rapid in early 2018.

In the past few weeks, you may have noticed a new addition to the bus while boarding. The blue box with a screen located near the bus operator is an electronic fare payment reader. This reader is one of the main features of The Rapid’s new e-fare system, The Wave, which is a new way for passengers to pay their fares.

The Wave e-fare system features plastic smart cards and a mobile ticketing smartphone app. These cards and the app will hold pay-as-you-go value to make travel even more effortless than before! You will be able to purchase their fares or add funds online, at ticket vending machines, Rapid Central Station or at a large network of retailers like Meijer and local convenience stores. They will then be able to simply tap their smart card or scan their mobile ticketing smartphone app as they board to pay their fare.

The Rapid is the first Michigan public transportation agency to introduce this innovative e-fare payment system. Here are a few reasons why we’re making the switch to e-fare:

Faster & Easier

Say goodbye to paper tickets or struggling to find the exact fare. With The Wave, you’ll simply need to touch your card to the reader every time you board or transfer. There will be Wave readers on every busy and at every Silver Line Station. This means faster boarding times and no fussing with inserting paper tickets or cash into the farebox.

Save As You Ride

When you ride The Rapid using your Wave smart card you can get the savings of daily, weekly and monthly passes, but without the commitment or the upfront cost. You pay your way one trip at a time, and you’ll never pay for a trip you don’t take. The Wave will give you the best deal on your fare based on how much you ride. It’s a ‘pay-as-you-go’ pass: Earn a day pass after riding twice in one day, or a monthly pass after riding twice a day for 20 days.

In other words, once you’ve reached the cost of a monthly pass, you’ll receive unlimited rides for the rest of the month. So everyone gets the savings of a pass without the upfront cost.

Better for the Environment

The Rapid currently prints more than 2.5 million paper tickets each year, including an estimated 300,000 transfers that are never used. The Wave e-fare system features a plastic smart card that will last you 10 years or the option of using the mobile ticketing for your smartphone.

Load Value Anywhere

Top off your account anywhere, anytime using your smartphone, The Wave website, visiting the Information Center at Rapid Central Station and at participating retailers. Or choose auto-load to add funds when your balance is low.

It’s simple. Once you add a payment method to your account, just choose the balance amount you want auto-load to kick in at and then select the amount you want to add to your Wave card.

Account Management

You can quickly register your card and set up a funding source using our mobile-friendly website or app. Your Wave account allows you to manage multiple cards, see a history of your recent trips and transactions, and deactivate/reactivate a lost or stolen card. And don’t forget to set up auto-load, so you’re never stuck without fare.

Interested in catching The Wave before it launches? Become a pilot tester! Visit and sign up now and learn more about The Wave.

Don’t forget, cash will always be an accepted payment method on board the bus and there is no fare increase involved with e-fare. 

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.