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Service Changes Coming on August 31, 2015

At the end of August, several Rapid routes will undergo changes to routing, schedules, and stop locations. The following changes will go into effect on August 31, 2015:

ROUTE 2: Schedule times will be adjusted along the route in an effort to enhance schedule adherence.

ROUTE 8 & 44 STOP RELOCATION: The bus stop at RiverTown Crossings is being relocated to the east end of Macy’s on the front side of the mall.

ROUTE 28: The westbound routing will be changing to the following:
Westbound: 28th Street west to cross over Ivanrest, right on Wallace to Chicago Dr., left on Chicago Dr., to Wilson, left on Wilson to Grandville Library.

Route 28

ROUTE 44: Route will be changing to the following:
Westbound: Wilson to 44th, left on 44th to Canal, left on Canal to Lowes.
Eastbound: Canal to 44th, right on 44th to Wilson, right on Wilson to RiverTown Crossings.

Route 44

ROUTE 50: This route will no longer go to Rapid Central Station and will transition to Laker Line routing.
Westbound from Lafayette (CHS): Lafayette to Hastings, left on Hastings to Coit, left on Coit to Michigan, right on Michigan to Monroe, left on Monroe to Fulton, right on Fulton to Laker Michigan to Allendale GVSU campus (Kirkhof).
Eastbound from Kirkhof: Campus Drive to Lake Michigan, Lake Michigan to Fulton, right on Fulton to Monroe, left on Monroe to Michigan, right on Michigan to Lafayette, left on Lafayette.

Westbound stops: Center for Health Sciences, Michigan & Bostwick, Monroe & DeVos Place, Monroe  &  Louis, Pew Campus: Fulton & Mt. Vernon, Fulton & Garfield, Lake Michigan & Covell, Lake Michigan & Oakleigh, Lake Michigan & Collindale, Lake Michigan & Bayberry Apartments, Lake Michigan & Kinney, Lake Michigan & Wilson (Meijer), North Campus & Ravine Center, North Campus & Mackinac Hall, Kirkhof Center

Eastbound stops: Kirkhof Center, North Campus & Ravine Center, Lake Michigan & Wilson (Meijer), Lake Michigan & Kinney, Lake Michigan & Collindale, Lake Michigan & Bona Vista Drive, Lake Michigan & Covell, Fulton & Garfield, Pew Campus: Fulton & Mt Vernon, Monroe & Louis, Monroe & DeVos Place, Michigan & Bostwick, Lafayette at CHS.

Route 50

ROUTE 51 HILL DASH: This route will now run from 6:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on a 15-minute cycle. Hill Dash will no longer travel to the CHS building. The new routing will include travel on Michigan to Barclay, turn right on Barclay, and continue on current routing back to Seward.

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: Ride Guide for August 1 – 7

www.ridetherapid.org

Kick off August the right way by enjoying all that Grand Rapids has to offer in terms of music, food, and fun. As always, we’ll drive.

– August 1 —  Chefs at the Market
Start your weekend off on the right note with a freshly prepared meal from chefs at the Downtown Market.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 2 & within walking distance from Rapid Central Station.

– August 2  — Brunch, Brews and a Movie: Taxi Driver
Start your Sunday off right in downtown Grand Rapids. For $20 you’ll receive an entree and choice of drink at Grand Rapids Crewing Co. and a ticket to a screening at the UICA.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 13,  14, 15

– August 3 — Jazz in the Park
Located at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, this concert series offers a chance to enjoy the sounds of classic jazz outdoors.

Routes nearby: 7, 9, 50–please be mindful of route detours.

– August 4 — Cartoonists of Grand Rapids Exhibits
Learn about the cartoonists from Grand rapids and their work in this new exhibit drawn from Grand Rapids History and Special Collections Department.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 4, 6, 14, 15

– August 5 — Free Outdoor Fitness Classes: Yoga
Soak up the sunshine and enjoy some exercise outdoors either during your lunch hour or in the evening at Ah-Nab-Awen Park or the Blue Bridge.

Routes nearby: Plan your trip using RapidConnect.

– August 6 — GRAM on the Green — Grupo Aye
Liven up your Thursday with some free music, admission to the GRAM, a cash bar, and more.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 6, 9, 11, 13, 50

– August 7 — Bus Stop by William Inge
Head to GRCC’s Spectrum Theater for the award-winning production of this play.

Route nearby: Silver Line, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15,

Where are we taking you this week?

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New Study: 75% of Americans Support Using Tax Dollars to Improve Public Transit Infrastructure

Students boarding Route 50 at GVSU.

American support for public transportation infrastructure is on the rise.

Recently, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), in conjunction with the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), released a study which underscores the public’s need for access to reliable public transportation and demonstrates broad support for investment in the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure. Its analysis shows that over 75 percent of Americans support using tax dollars to create, expand and improve public transportation in their communities, and that close to 70 percent believe Congress should increase the level of investment for public transportation infrastructure.

“It is time for Congress to recognize the clear message from Americans around the nation: we support investing our tax dollars to expand and maintain our public transportation systems,” said Michael Melaniphy, President and CEO of APTA. “Investing in our public transit infrastructure is a key ingredient to growing the economy in our local communities.  It is about creating jobs and improving the access to those jobs.  This can only happen with long-term investment.”

The report, The Benefits of Transit in the United States: A Review and Analysis of Benefit-Cost Studies, found that transit services provide significant, measurable net benefits in various operating environments:
–  Transit benefits often substantially exceed costs in rural and small urban areas–not just big cities.

–  Transit typically pays for itself in congestion relief benefits for mid- to large-sized urban areas.

–  Jobs and economic stimulus are among the largest benefit categories of transit.

–  Transit improves health care access and outcomes while reducing costs.

–  Transit saves money, with transit in larger urban areas benefiting more people.

In addition to demonstrating the American public’s support for investments into our country’s transportation infrastructure, the Mineta Institute and APTA study also highlights the value public transportation adds to communities across the country. Here are some important percentages to consider:

–  More than 80 percent agreed that public transportation provides an affordable way for people to get around;

–  According to more than 82 percent, public transportation provides people with vital connections to important resources like jobs, schools, and medical facilities;

–  Roughly 80 percent said that public transportation connects people to jobs, and thus helps to fuel economic growth and development.

–  Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed stated that public transportation creates a cleaner environment and reduces carbon emissions.

MTI conducted 1,503 telephone interviews with individuals across the United States.  The margin of error for the total sample is ± 2.53 percentage points, at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups will have larger margins of error.

Read the full report here: http://transweb.sjsu.edu/PDFs/research/1425-US-transit-benefit-cost-analysis-study.pdf

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: Ride Guide for July 25 – 31

Amtrak Station in Grand Rapids, MI

Mark your calendars for the following transit-friendly events taking place throughout our service area:

– July 25—  Amtrak Train Days
All aboard! Visit the Vernon J. Ehlers Amtrak Station for a look into the past, present, and future of train travel.

Routes nearby: The Amtrak Station is just steps awau

– July 26 — Fulton Street Artisans Market
Discover local artists at this weekly event.

Routes nearby: 14

– July 27 — Grand Rapids: City of the Lived Experiment
Take some time to cool off from the summer head and learn more about one of history’s great fashion designers.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

– July 28 — Everyday Hero Multicultural Stories & Music
Visit the Grand Rapids Public Library for this interactive storytelling event.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 4, 6, 14, 15

– July 29 — Free Outdoor Fitness Classes: Yoga
Soak up the sunshine and enjoy some exercise outdoors either during your lunch hour or in the evening at Ah-Nab-Awen Park or the Blue Bridge.

Routes nearby: Plan your trip using RapidConnect.

– July 30 — 25th Anniversary of the ADA Signing
Join the celebration of the signing of the ADA! Disability-related service providers will be gathering to share information and teach the public about the importance of the ADA.

Routes nearby: 2, 44

– July 31 — Bus Stop by William Inge
Head to GRCC’s Spectrum Theater for the award-winning production of this play.

Route nearby: Silver Line, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15,

Where are we taking you this week?

Posted in News on

Travel Training: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Bus Familiarization

Did you know that all of our fixed-route buses are equipped with ramps?

Here at The Rapid we offer several programs to help those who may need some extra assistance using the bus. Whether you’re new to a mobility device or simply have never had the chance to get on board, our travel trainers are available to help you get to know your way around Rapid fixed-route buses through our Vehicle Familiarization program.

This free program provides you with an opportunity to spend time getting to know your way around an out-of-service Rapid bus. Sarah and Cari, The Rapid’s travel trainers, will not only guide you through the process of boarding, settling in, and deboarding, they will also be there to answer questions and share practical advice. You may even have time to get to know Rapid bus operator.

This week our travel trainer Sarah had the opportunity to get to know a family while doing vehicle familiarization. A passenger and her two sons joined Sarah and bus operator Patrick for some time spent on board a bus. The passenger shared that she is very excited to be trying the fixed-route option, as it would open up her family’s world and give them more freedom.

Kristen and Patrick chatting on board the bus. Trying out the driver's seat.

We are always thrilled to have a chance to meet our riders and give them the tools they need to succeed on board. If you’re interested in learning more about our travel training program, please visit http://www.ridetherapid.org/howtoride/traveltraining. You can also contract our travel training office directly by calling Sarah Green at 616-456-7514 or emailing her at sgreen@ridetherapid.org.

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: Ride Guide for July 18 – 24

Hook Movies In The Park

Mark your calendars for the following transit-friendly events taking place throughout our service area:

– July 18 —  Dark Side: The Light Show
Visit the galaxy from the most comfortable seat in the house at the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s first planetarium production.

Routes nearby: 7, 9, 12, 50

– July 19Fulton Street Artisans Market
Spend the day getting familiar with local artists.

Route nearby: 14

– July 20 — Jazz in the Park
Enjoy this free concert series at Ah-Nab-Awen Park featuring the West Michigan Jazz Society.

Routes nearby: 7, 9, 51

– July 21UICA Movie: Saint Laurent
Take some time to cool off from the summer head and learn more about one of history’s great fashion designers.

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

– July 22Free Outdoor Fitness Classes: Zumba
Get out and dance on the Blue Bridge!

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 50

– July 23GRAM on the Green – Walter White
Make the most of your evening with this free outdoor event. Live music, free museum admission, a cash bar and more!

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 6, 9. 11, 13, 50

– July 24Movies in the Park – Hook
Nothing beats watching a movie under the stars. Don’t forget the snacks.

Routes nearby: 7, 9, 51

Where are we taking you this week?

Posted in News on

Comments Still Being Accepted for Proposed Fare Structure Change

Service improvements from 2008 to 2015.Thank you to everyone who joined us for our proposed fare structure change public hearings. We appreciate your comments, feedback, and the time you spent with us. For those who could not make it out to join us in-person, we are still accepting comments via email or mail until Wednesday, July 16, 2015. Please send comments to The Rapid Planning Department, 300 Ellsworth St. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 — or via email to info@ridetherapid.org.

While we detailed more information about the proposed change in a previous blog post, here is another look at the proposed fare structure change:

  • Cash fares proposed to change from $1.50 to $1.75
  • Reduced fare cash proposed to change from $0.75 to $0.85
  • Adult one-ride proposed to change from $1.50 to $1.75
  • Adult 10-ride proposed to change from $11.50 to $13.50
  • Student 10-ride ticket proposed to change from $9.00 to $10.50
  • Senior/persons with disabilities 10-ride proposed to change from $7.50 to $8.75
  • One-day pass proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.75
  • Seven-day pass proposed to change from $14.00 to $16.00
  • Regular 31-day pass proposed to change from $40.00 to $47.00
  • Reduced 31-day pass proposed to change from $26.00 to $30.00
  • GO!Bus proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.50
  • GO!Bus (non-disabled senior) proposed to change from $7.00 to $8.00
  • PASS proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.50

We understand that there may be concerns about this fare change, but we have to look at all options to continue to provide the level of services the community has come to rely on.  We appreciate your feedback as the Board considers this step.

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: Grandwich Edition

Grandwich sandwich competitionFoodies, you’ve got a full itinerary ahead of you!

Grandwich, the annual search for the best sandwich in Grand Rapids kicked off this week. This year restaurants were asked to be creative while featuring local products. With nearly two dozen entries, consider letting us do the driving to the many Grandwich destinations throughout the city so you can get your votes in.

 July 7 to July 14 — Participating restaurants will highlight their Grandwich feature entry on their menus. This means you can visit, try sandwiches and then vote online for your favorites.

Monday, July 27 — The Top 10 sandwiches will be announced.

Thursday, July 31 — A panel of give judges comprised of Grand Rapids celebrities and culinary professionals will announce the winner after visiting each of the top 10 restaurants to sample their entries.

1. Bagger Daves — Crispy Cheese Bacon Burger

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 50

2. Bar Divani — The Divani

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15, South DASH

3. Blue Dog Tavern — Westside Polish Pastrami Burger

Routes nearby: 9, 18

4. Bulls Head Tavern — Pulled Bacon Dutch Crunch

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 6, 9, 11, 19, 50,

5. CitySen Lounge — Ricky Ricardo

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 19

6. Cottage Bar — Loaded Grill Cheese

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 4, 14, 15,

7. Fish Lads — Michigan Po’ Boy

Routes nearby: Silver Line 1, 2

8. Flanagan’s Irish Pub — Grilled Strawberry & Goat Cheese Sandwich

Routes nearby: 9, 11, 19, 50, 51

9. Founders Brewing Co. — Skirt Steak Sandwich

Routes nearby: Located directly across the street from Rapid Central Station; most routes reach Founders.

10. Garage Bar and Grill — Brisket Sandwich

Route nearby: 7

11. Grand Rapids Brewing Company — The Peach Pitt

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 13, 14, 15

12. Grand Woods Lounge — Grand Bison Burger

Located just two blocks from Rapid Central Station.

13. HopCat — Club Monte Frisco

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

14. J. Gardella’s — The Edgar Pickled Po

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

15.McFadden’s — The Nawlins Sandwich

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

16. Peppino’s — Panino Estate

Routes nearby: 1, 2, 3

17. Raad’s Mediterranean Grill — Jambalaya Wrap

Routes nearby: 4, 6, 14

18. Rockwell Republic — Truffle Mushroom Burger

Routes nearby: 1, 3, 6, 13

19. San Chez Bistro — Cuban Pork Mojo

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

20. Sip Organic Juice Bar — The Sipster

Route nearby: 6

21. Stella’s Lounge — What Happens At Stella’s Stays At Stella’s

Routes nearby: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15,

22. Tavern on the Square — The Tavern Quack

Routes nearby: 1, 2, 3 — also just a short walk away from Rapid Central Station.

23. The BOB – Bobarino’s | The Gilmore Collection — Revolution Burger

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 50,

24. The Cheshire Grill — Granny’s at The Grill

Route nearby: 11

25. Vault Express Cafe — Calder City Club

Routes nearby: Silver Line, 6, 11, 13, 19, 51

Learn more about Grandwich by visiting their website. Don’t forget to vote! http://www.grandwichgr.com/

Posted in Rider Stories on

14 Favorite Summer Destinations of Rapid Riders

Nothing quite beats summer in Michigan. Now that the warm weather is here to stay (for now), enjoy it by exploring all that the Greater Grand Rapids area has to offer. We reached out to our passengers via The Rapid Facebook page to find out where their favorite place to ride The Rapid was during summer months. Here’s what we found out:

1. Savannah S. – Downtown and sit by the river, get something to eat, and perhaps take another bus if we get tired and take in a street concert or movies in the park.”

2. Candace B. –  “Out to Leonard to go to Blandford Nature Center.”

3. Shondreka L. –  “Meijer – you walk into A/C  and get curbside service.”

4. Christopher R. – Downtown – food, movies in the park, libraries…”

5. Amanda Jo E. –  “Fulton Street Farmers Market, for sure.”

6. Stephanie S. – The library, Farmer’s market, and the POOL!”

7. Lisa C.  “To the movies.”

8. Latrice P. –RiverTown Mall!! My daughter and I love the long air conditioned ride.”

9. Lonitta B. –  “Festival’s, so I don’t have to worry about parking downtown.”

10. Melissa G. –  “ John Ball Zoo.”

11. Ana L. – “Downtown Farmers Market!”

12. James M. –  “Hispanic Festival, Grand Rapids, MI.”

13. Savannah S. –  “Downtown and sit by the river, get something to eat, and perhaps take another bus if we get tired and take in a street concert or movies in the park.”

14. Susie Y. – “I enjoy picnicking by Reed’s Lake.”

Avoid the hassle of parking, get in a few extra steps in your daily exercise routine, and let us deal with the stress of driving! We suggest planning your trip in advance by using RapidConnect’s Trip Planner. See you on board!

Where do you love to ride the bus to in the summer?

Posted in News on

Public Hearings to be Held for Proposed Fare Structure Change

Since The Rapid was created in 2000,  we have expanded service a number of times. We’ve also asked voters to increase the amount of property taxes they contribute to the system, and they’ve agreed to do so four times in 15 years.  Fares have not been raised since 2008, and since that time, the cost of doing business has gone up. It’s now time to take a look at our fare structure to ensure that it too is keeping pace with the services we provide.  The Rapid will be holding public hearings at Rapid Central Station in the second floor Community Conference Room at 7:00 p.m. on July 14th and 7:00 a.m. on July 15th to gather public comment on the proposed fare increase.

The Rapid has three primary funding sources:  local property tax millage revenues, state operating reimbursement, and fares.  Over the past several years, the percentage of revenues that the first two items cover in our budget has gone down.  We have been looking at the expense side to do what we can to control costs, including changing our employee health plan and are moving toward the use of compressed natural gas (CNG)  buses to save fuel costs over the long term, but there is still a gap between our revenues and expenses.  We have been filling this gap with some capital funds to keep a balanced budget.  This is a temporary solution at best, one that is not sustainable long-term.  It also means those capital funds are not available for things like bus shelters, bike racks, or other facility needs.

In February of last year, the Rapid’s Board approved a Fare Policy which proactively established guidelines for evaluating fares.  Using that policy, staff has proposed the following:

  • Cash fares proposed to change from $1.50 to $1.75
  • Reduced fare cash proposed to change from $0.75 to $0.85
  • Adult one-ride proposed to change from $1.50 to $1.75
  • Adult 10-ride proposed to change from $11.50 to $13.50
  • Student 10-ride ticket proposed to change from $9.00 to $10.50
  • Senior/persons with disabilities 10-ride proposed to change from $7.50 to $8.75
  • One-day pass proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.75
  • Seven-day pass proposed to change from $14.00 to $16.00
  • Regular 31-day pass proposed to change from $40.00 to $47.00
  • Reduced 31-day pass proposed to change from $26.00 to $30.00
  • GO!Bus proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.50
  • GO!Bus (non-disabled senior) proposed to change from $7.00 to $8.00
  • PASS proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.50

If you can’t attend either one of the meetings, you can also submit written comments via email to info@ridetherapid.org or to the attention of the Planning Department, The Rapid, 300 Ellsworth Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI  49503.

We understand that there may be concerns about this fare change, but we have to look at all options to continue to provide the level of services the community has come to rely on.  We appreciate your feedback as the Board considers this step.