Posted in News on

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. 

Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to Furniture City Creamery and Cool Off with a Delicious Treat

Furniture City Creamery Sign

Cool down this summer with a delicious, handcrafted ice cream treat made right here in Grand Rapids!

We partner with FOX 17 to bring you awesome, transit-friendly deals throughout Grand Rapids and the suburbs. This past week, we featured Funiture City Creamery in the East Hills neighborhood on Cherry Street near Diamond. This quaint shop is packed with more than 20 flavors of ice cream. They even have vegan and dairy-free options so everyone can enjoy a cool treat.

Flavors to Try

Some Furniture City Creamery flavors you’ll want to check out: Lucky Charms, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Covered Pretzel, vegan Black Licorice, Salted Caramel and vegan Peppermint Pattie!

They also have floats, shakes and ice cream sandwiches!

Discover your new favorite ice cream spot:

You can ride Routes 4, 6, and 14 to Furniture City Creamery!

Posted in Places to Go on

7 Free Events to Enjoy in July 2017

Summer in Grand Rapids

We’ve entered one of Michigan’s most magical seasons. Michigan summers are the perfect time for exploration, new activities and, most importantly, fun! Fortunately for Grand Rapidians and those living in surrounding transit-friendly suburbs, there are a number of outdoor events to ensure you’re able to embrace the sunshine and warmth promised in July. The best part is that all of these events are free to the public.

Whether it’s watching your favorite local band or musician in the park, catching a movie or exploring your local farmer’s market, there are so many reasons to hop on board the bus and let us do the driving to these fun summer events. If you’re looking for the best deal and aren’t a frequent Rapid rider, purchase a 10-Ride Card to use for riding to these events.

Catch a Movie
Movies in the Park in Ah-Nab-Awen Park takes place on July 7, 21 and 28th. Ride Routes 7 and 9 to catch films like Mrs. Doubtfire, Jaws and Zootopia. The new LED screen means that movies can start before dark at 7 p.m.! Come early to reserve your spot, enjoy activities, games, music and goodies from the food trucks before the movies start.  View the full film lineup for 2017.

Routes 7, 9

Enjoy Concerts in Kentwood
On July 13, and 27, ride Routes 2 and 44 to Kentwood City Hall for live music from 7 – 8:30 p.m for the Kentwood City Summer Entertainment Series. The Mainstays will play on the 13th and Look Out Lincoln will be on the 20th and The Tomas Esparza Blues Band plays on the 27th. This event also features food trucks and more! Grab your blanket or a chair for some Thursday evening fun.

Route 2, 44

Get fit

Every Monday through Thursday, you can find a variety of fitness classes taking place throughout downtown Grand Rapids thanks to the Stay Fit Downtown Class Series. This 9-week program is a joint effort through Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and the City of Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation Department. Free, no-registration classes include Zumba, ballroom dancing, kickboxing and more. Classes take place at Rosa Parks Circle, the Blue Bridge and the JW Marriott Lobby.

Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6+

Listen to Music in Walker

The Standale Summer Concert Series takes place July 13 with Strumble Head and July 27 with Brena Band at Walker Community Park. Music starts playing at 6:30 p.m. and the fun lasts until 8:30 p.m. Ride Routes 12 and 50 to get there, pack a picnic and enjoy a beautiful evening with local tunes!

Route 12, 50

Explore the Market with your Kids
Grab your children and get on board the Silver Line or Routes 1 and 2 to head to the Downtown Market for free fun for kids every week in July. You can expect crafts, educational activities and more! Each week, Kids at the Market has a new theme that your children will love. While you’re there, grab lunch or a snack and do a bit of shopping.
Routes 1, 2, SL

Experience Hands-On Learning at the Museum

Grand Rapids Public Museum is opening their doors for a day of free admission on July 16 from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Explore all three floors of exhibits and dive into hands-on fun for the whole family. Make a day out of it by riding Routes 7 and 9 and enjoying lunch or dinner at a downtown Grand Rapids eatery.

Routes 1, 2, SL

Groove to Jazz in the Park

Every Monday, ride Routes 7 and 9 to Ah-Nab-Awen Park to enjoy an evening of jazz presented by the West Michigan Jazz Society. Some of this month’s upcoming acts include Metro Jazz Voices, Kevin Jones Band and The Lakeshore Big Band.

Routes 7, 9

Stock up at Local Farmers Market

How close is your nearest farmers market? There are so many that are transit-friendly throughout Grand Rapids, Grandville, Wyoming and Kentwood! Grab your reusable shopping bags, hop on board the bus and ride to your favorite farmers market to enjoy local produce and goods. You can even ride Route 14 straight to the Fulton Street Farmers Market every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday!

Route 14

Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to Movies in the Park 2017

Movies in the Park 2017

Ride The Rapid Routes 7 and 9 to enjoy an evening in Ah-Nab-Awen Park with movies, games, music, food and so much more!

Movies in the Park is back and better than ever before. If you haven’t been to this bi-weekly summer event at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids before, make sure to get one of the movie dates on your calendar. It’s the perfect chance to enjoy a budget-friendly evening with your friends or family in one of Grand Rapids’ beautiful riverfront parks. Along with the movies, attendees also have access to games, food trucks, a live DJ and much more before and in between movies.

This year, attendees can watch their favorite movies on a new LED screen. This means that you can now catch a double feature with the first film starting at 7 p.m. and an additional feature at 9:30 p.m.

Upcoming movies:

July 7

  • –    7 p.m. – Mrs. Doubtfire (PG-13)
  • –    9:30 p.m. – Forrest Gump (PG-13)

July 21

  • –    7 p.m. – The Book of Life (PG)
  • –    9:30 p.m. -Jaws (PG)

August 4

  • –    7 p.m. – Selena (PG)
  • –    9:30 p.m. – The Bodyguard (R)

August 18

  • –    Remember the Titans (PG)
  • –    Pitch Perfect (PG-13)

Some tips for making the most out of this event include getting their early so you can get a great spot and ride The Rapid or your bike to save money and time with parking. Costumes are encouraged for children and adults. For those 21+, bring your own alcoholic beverages and photo ID so you can enjoy them during the event.

Here’s our recent Thrifty Thursday feature with our friends at FOX 17:

Posted in News on

Holland Home Raybrook Manor Residents Learn to Ride the Bus

Holland Home tour

If you’re interested in learning how to ride The Rapid, you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, turning it into a group event can make it an even more enjoyable experience.

On Tuesday, June 20, a group of residents from Holland Home Raybrook Manor took a vehicle familiarization trip to downtown Grand Rapids. The Rapid’s free Travel Training program is designed to help individuals and groups, especially seniors and persons with disabilities, maintain their freedom and independence by learning how to utilize public transportation to move around their community. The group from Holland Home Raybrook Manor is part of R.E.A.L., which stands for the Resident Enrichment Academy for Living. This group seeks to encourage residents to continue to be actively involved in their community.

After learning how to ride the bus, the Holland Home residents then rode downtown to the Grand Rapids Art Museum to take advantage of Meijer Free Tuesdays. Every Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., admission is waived for the public. This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a wallet-friendly adventure. Riding the bus to get to the Grand Rapids Art Museum can also save you money on parking and the stress of finding the perfect spot. There are several bus lines that can get you just steps away from the museum’s doors.

Vehicle Familiarization Travel Training

For many of the residents in attendance, this was their first time riding public transportation in Grand Rapids since the 1950s. A lot has changed on buses since those days. Today, all fixed-route service buses are lift-equipped and handicap accessible. This made our time on the vehicle even more rewarding, as it was a chance to go over new features and establish a level of comfort and safety. Our Travel Trainers focus on ensuring that passengers with mobility devices can experience boarding, deboarding and everything in between.

For more information on our Travel Training program or to set up an appointment, visit

Posted in Rider Stories on

Rider Stories: Letting Go and Other Thoughts on Riding The Rapid

The Bus at Rapid Central Station

The following is written by Anthony Wilder Puzzuoli, a Grand Rapids citizen and Rapid rider. One of Anthony’s 2017 resolutions is to ride all of The Rapid’s routes. He’s sharing his experiences with us as he goes. You can find his first blog here.

I’ve taken the bus a handful of times, with all the trips being for pleasure, and nothing really time sensitive like getting to a meeting or being to work. I’ve been to the bar. I’ve gone out to eat. My wife and I went on a date. I met some interesting people. So far, it’s been a fun experience. I’d like to share a few insights from my travels.


One of the most pleasant things about riding the bus so far, for me, has been giving up control. When I travel around town, typically I’m riding my bike, walking or driving. Basically, I’m the one doing the traveling. I’m paying attention, I’m trying to be safe, I’m trying to avoid broken glass and over-friendly dogs. There is a constant level of focus on my surroundings that I need to sustain.

When I first sat down on the bus, I experienced a feeling of panic! I didn’t know what to do. There was nothing I had to do! I just got to sit and after I realized that the driver wasn’t going to ask me to drive the bus or to be on the lookout for potholes, I relaxed. It was glorious. I didn’t realize how much of my mind space during traveling is focused on the act of the traveling. Riding the bus, I could fill my mind with other things. I thought about the book I had been reading, conversations I had at work, I took the time to notice the buildings, streets and people I saw out the window. I almost could have fallen asleep. When I first sat down on the bus, I experienced a feeling of panic! I didn’t know what to do. There was nothing I had to do! After I realized that the driver wasn’t going to ask me to drive the bus or to be on the lookout for potholes, I relaxed. It was glorious. I didn’t realize how much of my mind space during traveling is focused on the act of the traveling. Riding the bus, I could fill my mind with other things. I thought about the book I had been reading, conversations I had at work, I took the time to notice the buildings, streets and people I saw out the window. I almost could have fallen asleep.


On one of my trips, there was a light drizzle when I left the bar to return home. As I stood at the stop getting damp, a fellow passenger informed me that the bus was running late. He had used his phone to check. He suggested that we’d be better off taking a different route back to Central Station and we moved to the intersecting street to wait for a different bus. As we stood outside the drizzle turned to rain and I realized that nowhere at this intersection was a bus shelter. We moved to the awning of a closed business and waited for the bus to arrive. When the bus arrived, our trip didn’t end as we had another connection to catch to get back to Central Station. This time there was a shelter and other passengers chatted while we waited. In retrospect, it probably would have been better to just wait for the original bus. The late arrival of the bus, the rain, lack of shelter and waiting give me the feeling of being a bit exposed and out of my comfort zone. However, the willingness of the fellow passengers to share information, and converse to pass the time made the unanticipated journey enjoyable. Lesson learned: Bring an umbrella and a friendly smile!


My wife and I rode the bus to Tillman’s  with plans to go to a different bar for drinks afterward. Now the bus might not be most people’s idea of a romantic mode of transportation however, we didn’t have to worry about parking, driving our car after drinking, or the moral dilemma of taking an Uber home. We could just enjoy each other’s company, which is the makes it a very romantic mode of date transportation. Also, because the DASH doesn’t run on Saturday nights, we had to walk a little further and enjoyed a stroll over the river. Date night bonus! After dinner, the bus dropped us off a block from Bridge Street with numerous bars being just a quick walk away. Truth be told, we walked home that night making our dinner date a true multimodal trip.


Routes I’ve ridden: 1, 4, 5, 7, 24

New businesses visited: 2
Wing Avenue (803 Burton Street SE): Friendly service and great wings.
Silver Derby (816 Burton Street SE):  Cold beer served quickly.


AnthonyAnthony Wilder Puzzuoli has lived in Grand Rapids since 2002 when he moved here to attend Aquinas College. He’s worked at Local First as Membership Coordinator for the last few years and has recently started riding The Rapid as a way to explore the city. One of his favorite things about living in Grand Rapids is being so close to the lakeshore.

Posted in Places to Go on

Thrifty Thursday: Ride The Rapid to Craig’s Cruisers for Father’s Day Fun

Craig's Cruisers Mini Golf Special

Celebrate your father on Sunday, June 18 for Father’s Day!

Is your Dad a big kid at heart? Ride The Rapid to Craig’s Cruisers where Dads can play miniature golf for free with the purchase of a child’s golf.

Aside from mini golf, Craig’s Cruisers Family Fun Centers feature attractions include indoor go-karts, laser tag, bumper cars, ropes course and frog hopper. There’s also the option for a pizza buffet!


Aside from free mini-golf for Dad, Craig’s Cruisers also has summertime hours and Wristband Wednesdays that give the whole family quality time to play together any day during summer vacation. With wristbands, children and adults have unlimited access to all the activities for five hours.

Ride with us to the Wyoming Craig’s Cruisers location. You can ride Routes 1 and 10 to get there.

For more deals and locations, visit

Posted in News on

Bus Operator of the Month: May 2017

Bob O. of The Rapid

Each month, we have the opportunity of honoring a Rapid Bus Operator who has gone above and beyond in their job to keep the community moving. These bus operators are nominated by their peers and awarded by the Transportation Department for their hard work and dedication.

Our Bus Operator of May 2017 is Bob O! Here’s what he had to share with us:


I have been with The Rapid for 8.5 years.


I enjoy driving and interaction with the public. I take great pride in wearing The Rapid uniform.


I enjoy spending time with my wife and family. Also, in my space time, I go to the YMCA regularly with my wife or my brother. I enjoy reading, music, working in my yard and my five pets.

Congratulations, Bob! Thank you for all you do.

Posted in News on

Grand Rapids Sets New Record for 2017 Active Commute Week Participation

Active Commute Week

More Greater Grand Rapids employers and individuals than ever before have signed up to participate in the sixth annual Active Commute Week that begins Monday, June 12 and continues through Friday, June 16, The Rapid and the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition (GGRBC) announced today.

Whether it’s cruising on a bicycle or hopping on the bus, The Rapid is urging riders to give active commuting a try for this weeklong challenge, which offers individual participants and teams to earn points for using active transportation, including bicycling, walking, riding The Rapid, carpooling, running, long-boarding or inline skating.

“We congratulate all of the participants and volunteers who have helped make our 2017 Active Commute Week one of the most successful events we’ve enjoyed to date,” said Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid.

“One of our priorities is to raise awareness about the health, economic and environmental benefits of active travel,” Varga said. “Grand Rapids is a more vibrant community when we have a strong, connected network of transportation options.”

Currently, a new record of at least 44 employers and 380 individuals have enrolled to participate in Greater Grand Rapids’ 2017 Commute Week. At least 230 of the individuals who have registered are first-time participants. The organization list includes The Rapid, Steelcase, Grand Valley State University, Kent District Library, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Mobile GR and the City of Grand Rapids, and many more.

“The Grand Rapids Public Museum is thrilled to participate in Active Commute Week again in 2017,” said Kate Moore, VP of Marketing and PR. “The Museum is excited to take part in a community event that promotes an active lifestyle and sustainability to our visitors, employees and the community at large.”

The Metro Health System and the City’s Mobile GR are entering teams for the first time in Active Commute Week.

“Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is proud to support programs that are rooted in wellness,” said Michael Faas, chief executive officer of Metro Health. “Through our hospital, outpatient centers, and community clinic, we are proud to serve as a resource to the community and support programs like Active Commute Week which emphasize a healthy lifestyle and good stewardship of our environment.”

“This year, City workers are competing as a large organization; bring it on KDL! We’ll also be working (during the Challenge),” says Amanda Moore, a Mobile GR and Parking Services analyst. “For people unable to commit to the full work commute, we’re encouraging them to active commute to meetings or errands using the DASH, a free shuttle service that conveniently gets people around the downtown area.”

The Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition’s (GGRBC) Active Commute Week is the city’s version of National Bike to Work Week, which is part of National Bike Month that is recognized annually during May across the United States. GGRBC, The Rapid and city leaders rescheduled the event in Grand Rapids to June last year for the first time, and the hope that warmer weather would increase participation produced record-setting results.

In 2016, 35 businesses and organizations registered for the event, setting new records for participation. The 314 individuals who logged at least one commute through an online tracking system administered by The Rapid also set a new enrollment record last year. In addition, the more than 17,000 travel miles logged by the individual commuters set a new Active Commute Week standard. In all, 1,935 active commutes were logged during the weeklong event last year.

“Active transportation is perfect for any age, fitness level, commute length or occupation,” says Amy Duggan, GGRBC board member and chair of the Active Commute Week committee.

“That’s why we’re happy to promote an event that improves our quality of life in Grand Rapids as well as to help build a more respectful culture between bicyclists, motorists and active commuters,” Duggan says.

It’s fast, easy and free to register by completing the individual form. Please note the organization when signing up if applicable. Participants will be notified by The Rapid when their account is ready. Participants can track active transportation trips on the West Michigan RideShare site.

The deadline for logging trips is at 12:00 p.m. Friday, June 16, so results can be tabulated. Participants also have the opportunity to log their intended evening trips by noon Friday as well.

There’s more to this week than simply logging trips. Don’t miss these awesome Active Commute Week events:

Bicycle Fever presentation at The Pyramid Scheme: June 14, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Join Grand Rapids Public Library‘s Colleen Alles as she discusses the culture and climate of Furniture City’s obsession with bicycles at the turn of the 19th Century. View historic, one-of-a-kind primary documents such as photographs, publications, and newspaper articles. This event is free and open to the public.

Bike to Work Day Pit Stops: June 16, 7 a.m. – 9a.m.

Make your morning bike commute more enjoyable by visiting pit stops all over town welcoming featuring refreshments and giveaways. Check out the list of pit stops to visit for your Friday commute. Leave early enough and visit them all!

Handlebar Happy Hour: June 16, 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Long Road Distillers
Meet up with other active commuters to wrap up West Michigan’s sixth annual Active Commute Week! Door prizes will be up for grabs and Active Commute Week Challenge and Pit Stop winners will be announced.

If the reward of physical fitness and a chance to get out and enjoy the spring weather doesn’t have you sold, we hope we can sweeten the deal with some awesome prizes. Individuals and employer teams will be awarded for their active commutes based on who logs the highest number of total trips and the highest number of total miles for walking, cycling, riding the bus and carpooling. Prizes include $100 Meijer gift cards, bus passes, bike helmets and more!

Register here as an individual or employer and starting planning your commutes now.

The 2017 list of participating organizations includes:

—  Trinity United Methodist Church
—  Calvin College
—  Williams & Works
—  mLive
—  St. Thomas Church
—  Fulton Street Farmers Market
—  Kent County Parks Foundation
—  Balance First Fitness
—  Advantage Benefits Group
—  Mobile GR and Parking Services
—  Moosejaw Mountaineering
—  The Rapid
—  Catalyst Partners
—  Local First
—  Founders Brewing Co.
—  Long Road Distillers
—  Meijer
—  The Pyramid Scheme
—  BOXBoom Creative
Rapid Wheelmen
Grand Rapids Bicycle Co
Grand Valley State University
—  Priority Health
—  Metro Health University of Michigan Health Hospital
—  Kent District Library
—  Boston Square Community Bikes / Oakdale Neighbors
—  Disability Advocates of Kent County
—  GR Center for Community Transformation
—  Grand Rapids Community Foundation
—  Velocity USA INC
—  Brewery Vivant
—  Custer
—  Tower Pinkster
—  OST
—  Grand Rapids Public Museum
—  Rockford Construction
—  Spectrum Health
—  The Mitten Brewing Company
—  Great Lakes Coca-Cola
—  Health Plan Advocate
—  Thinkbox Creative
—  Carpe Diem GR
—  West Michigan Environmental Action Council


Posted in Places to Go on

Stay Cool This Summer at Grand Rapids Pools & Water Playgrounds

Grand Rapids Pool

Summer is almost here, which means that warm weather is sticking around. Stay cool during the last days of spring and all summer long by visiting the City of Grand Rapids pools and water playgrounds, which open this Friday, June 9, 2017. Too hot to walk or bike? Get on board one of The Rapid’s air-conditioned vehicles and we’ll get you where you need to go.

The city’s pools are located at Briggs Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Richmond Park. There are also a number of water playgrounds/splash pads scattered around the city. Adult residents will be charged $2 for open swim at pools. Children between the age of one and 17 can enter for $1. For nonresidents, it’s $4 for both adults and children. All babies under the age of one get in free. For those seeking to visit the pool regularly throughout the summer, for just $80 a family pool pass for up to six people will allow for unlimited swimming during open hours.

Swim hours, lessons and splash pad locations can be found on the city’s website. So grab your swimsuit, towel, and let us take you and your family to these swimming destinations:



Briggs Park is located at Lafayette and Knapp NE.
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 12:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Ride Route 11 to get there.


Located at Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Fuller and Franklin SE
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Routes 2, 5 & 19 can get you there.


This pool is located at Richmond Park at Richmond and Tamarack NW.
Hours: Monday – 12:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Saturday: 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Get on board Routes 7 and 9.













You can purchase passes for riding The Rapid on our website, at Central Station, TVM locations and at local retailers. Use The Rapid’s Trip Planning tool to find out the nearest stop and route to your chosen Grand Rapids water park destination.