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The Rapid’s Commuter Gift Guide


Are you looking for creative gifts for the Grand Rapids commuter in your life? We’ve got you covered. Here are our top 10 transit-friendly gift ideas:

1. Schuler’s Gift Card

Schulers Books

A good book and some even better tunes are a commuting mainstay. A Schuler Books & Music gift card gives your favorite commuter access to books, music, unique gift items and a full-service gourmet cafe. The best part about this gift is that it allows you to support an independent, locally-owned business in the community.

2. Portable Charger

Black Portable Charger

When you’re on the go, you never want to be stuck without a charged battery. A compact portable charger is the perfect accessory for any travel bag.

3. Wave Card

Wave Card

Give the gift of transit this holiday season. If the commuter in your life takes the bus, consider purchasing them a Wave card and loading funds onto it. If they already have a Wave card, offer to load up their card as a gift.

4. Travel Umbrella

Commuter Travel Umbrella

Getting stuck in the rain can ruin a commute. Travel umbrellas are a necessity for ensuring that weather won’t get in the way of your day. This one, in particular, is conveniently compact.

5. Non-Woven Grocery Tote from Clothing Matters

Grocery Tote

A reusable tote bag is truly a great gift for anyone. However, they’re particularly handy for those frequently on the go. We love the Clothing Matters brand tote bag because it’s made of eco-conscious polypropylene. Clothing Matters has a vibrant retail location at 141 Diamond Ave

6. Gloves from West Michigan Bike and Fitness


Michigan’s cold weather can do a number on your hands. Keep your favorite commuter cozy (and safe) in cold weather with a pair of Bontrager’s RXL Thermal Gloves from West Michigan Bike and Fitness. They are moisture wicking and provide an excellent grip.

7. Safety Reflectors

Red LED Safety Reflector

Visibility is crucial to the safety of any commuter. LED safety reflectors are a lightweight and versatile safety accessory that can easily fit on a wrist, ankle, backpack or arm.

8. Sunglasses


Sunglasses are an excellent gift for the stylish commuter in your life. These polarized sunglasses filter out sunlight reflected flare to protect the eyes from long-term damage of harmful UVA and UVB rays.

9. Earmuff Headphones

Black earmuff Headphones

Bluetooth, rechargeable earmuffs will keep ears warm and make sure that being comfortable doesn’t sacrifice access to good tunes or podcasts.

10. Boots

Black Waterproof Rain Boots

Waterproof boots are an absolute necessity in Michigan. Give the gift of dry feet with a pair of waterproof boots!

11. Commuter Backpack


If you’re looking to splurge on a loved one, consider a utilitarian commuter backpack. Whether walking, biking or riding the bus, a wearable bag is essential to smart travel. We love this one from REI.

12. New York Times Crossword Puzzle Subscription


The New York Times Crossword Puzzle is the ultimate gift for any commuter. For just $40, you can give your favorite person the gift of challenging puzzles for a whole year. This subscription even enables the user to play across any of their devices.

Happy Holidays!

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The Rapid and Kent District Library Launch Books on the Bus Program

Books on the Bus Little Free Library

The Rapid is pleased to partner with Kent District Library to offer the Books on the Bus program on buses traveling throughout the Greater Grand Rapids area. The program provides a collection of books for all ages that are conveniently placed on buses for riders to enjoy. With a book selection that will rotate consistently, riders will always have new books available.

The average bus rider commutes 25 minutes each day. This provides the perfect opportunity to do some reading or to pick up a book to enjoy later.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to make riding The Rapid an even more enjoyable experience,” said The Rapid’s CEO Andrew Johnson. “We are proud to partner with KDL to make connecting to reading even more convenient.”

Books are currently housed on 13 Rapid buses, with plans to increase that number to 16. These buses are used on different routes every day, which offers riders a chance to access books throughout The Rapid’s service area. The collection includes gently used books, many which are new and bestsellers.

Kent District Library is also pleased to offer a Little Free Library in Rapid Central Station. The structure will house around 50 books, including youth, teen and adult fiction and nonfiction materials. People are encouraged to take a book or leave a book.

“This is just another exciting way we are making books accessible to people wherever they might be,” said Sara Proano, manager of community engagement for KDL.

Forest Hills Transition Center is partnering with KDL to provide the volunteers to re-stock the shelves at The Rapid for the Books on the Bus project.

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Give the Gift of Transit This Holiday Season

Gift The Gift of Transit

Are you still in search of the perfect gift for everyone on your list? We have something that your co-workers, friends and family members will love. We’ve got an idea that will move you!

Transit is the gift that keeps on giving. So why not spread the love?

The Rapid offers a number of different fare types and purchase options to best meet your needs when using the fixed-route system or GO!Bus. Consider gifting a pre-loaded Wave card to those you love. You can purchase your cards online at or in-person at Rapid Central Station on weekdays between 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.


  • — Adult Card – Just add funds and gift!
  • — 10-Ride Card – Load with $13.50 and you’ve just covered 10 rides for someone you love.

The gift of transit comes with numerous benefits. Riding The Rapid reduces congestion and improves air quality, creates economic vitality for our region, makes our community a better place to live, work and play — and it helps save you money. Check out our helpful fuel savings calculator to find out just how much you can save riding transit.

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Jingle All The Way to Events in December 2018

Ride The Rapid to Events in December 2018

With December comes chilly weather and holiday cheer. Don’t let this month of festivities go to waste. Catch a ride on The Rapid to one of these December events.


Create a new tradition this year. The Gerald R. Ford Museum is hosting the Light Up Downtown event. Watch as Downtown Grand Rapids is illuminated with lights and holiday cheer. The event is on Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. and features a variety of free activities and fun for the whole family. Get more details to plan your trip here.


Looking for a unique gift this season? You’ll find just what you’re searching for at this eclectic pop-up shop. Located at the Wealthy Street Theatre, the event is on Dec. 1 and goes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Want to RSVP? Click here for the official event page.


Have you ever been to the Steelcase Town Hall? Now is the perfect time! They are hosting the annual Holiday Artists Market. Find a great gift for that special someone on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 


One of the most popular events is back again! You can visit the best of Uptown shops, boutiques and restaurants during this evening of fun! This is the perfect transit-friendly event. Mark your calendar for Dec. 6 from 4 – 10 p.m. Need more details? Head to the official Facebook event here.


Dance into the season of giving with an evening of pure magic. The Grand Rapids Ballet presents The Nutcracker at DeVos Performance Hall with live music from Grand Rapids Symphony. This is a holiday classic you don’t want to miss. You can find full dates and tickets here.


Is there anything more magical than a snowy night illuminated by holiday lights? You can enjoy the annual tree lighting ceremony hosted at the Kentwood Library. The event also includes a holiday light parade (awesome, right?) Show up on Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. Click here for more details on their event page.

Photos with Santa

Find out if you’re on Santa’s naughty or nice list this year. Catch a ride to Woodland Mall every day through Dec. 24 to meet Santa, and most importantly, get your photo taken! The event goes from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and you can register here.


The Downtown Market is hosting visits from Mr. Claus on Dec. 14. You can take your own photographs, and receive a candy treat. The best part? This event is completely free! Just show up and enjoy. You can find more information here.


The GRAM is hosting a unique event this year on Dec. 20 from 5 – 9 p.m. Take one of the exclusive flashlight tours and see the art in a completely new way! For more information go to their site here.


Tis’ the season for family-friendly fun. Enjoy holiday classics from the famous organist Lance Luce. Head over to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to attend the show. You can catch the performances at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21 and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. Get tickets here.

Ride The Rapid for a convenient way to get to these events. Plan your trip here.

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What Are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving from The Rapid

In honor of Thanksgiving, we wanted to know what riders of The Rapid were thankful for this year! As always, we’re grateful to be able to get you where you need to go every day. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.


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Meet The Rapid’s Newest GILLIG CNG Bus

The Rapid's CNG Bus

Few things compare to the look, feel andyes, we’re going to say itthe smell of a new bus. Fortunately fellow bus admirers and us, we have 20 brand-new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses arriving by the end of 2019. In fact, our first new addition arrived this month.

Here at The Rapid, we’ve been working on transitioning our fleet to CNG vehicles. In 2017, we kicked off the transition with an addition of 33 alternative fuel vehicles, including 28 on The Rapid’s regular fixed routes and five for the City of Grand Rapids’ DASH shuttle service operating in Downtown Grand Rapids by The Rapid. The Rapid’s 150-vehicle fleet to include 92 CNG buses by 2021, with plans for full fleet transition in 2028. This will make The Rapid the owner of Michigan’s largest system of natural gas-powered buses!

Our CNG buses are GILLIG low-floor models. They are made at the GILLIG factory in Livermore, CA and make the cross-country journey to Rapid Operations Center to join our fleet. Our first bus of Fiscal Year 2019 arrived on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. This is vehicle #1129.

Here’s what we love about this alternative fuel:

  • — It reduces The Rapid’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1 million metric tons over the use of diesel. CNG buses produce up to 20-30 percent fewer emissions than diesel-powered buses.
  • — Poses no threat to land or water if a spill occurs as CNG is nontoxic.
  • — Generates a combined total savings of $4.5 million because the cost of CNG is projected to remain about 60 percent less than diesel.
  • — Ensures access to an American-made fuel source with an abundant 100-year supply, diminishing Greater Grand Rapids’ reliance on foreign oil.

Bus 1129 will be hitting the road to pick you up in the near future! Check out our video to learn more about our transition to CNG buses and meet our newest bus.

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Thank You, Veterans

The You Veterans

At The Rapid, we hold veterans in the highest regard. We’re proud to honor veterans today and every day. This Veterans Day we wanted to share special thank you to all of the veterans that keep us moving here at The Rapid. We’re fortunate to have employees who have previously and continue to serve our country. We also want to thank all of the veterans in our community for their service.

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Transit-Friendly Destinations to Ride The Rapid to in November

Ride The Rapid November Events

With November comes colder weather and shorter days. However, there’s no reason to go into hibernation! We have a list of fun, transit-friendly events throughout Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids Symphony’s Bernstein’s 100th

Ride the Silver Line to DeVos Performance Hall for this special Grand Rapids Symphony experience on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the famed Leonard Bernstein’s birth, guest conductor Carl St. Clair, music director of the Pacific Symphony for 28 years, leads the Grand Rapids Symphony in a sampling of Bernstein’s most popular music, most of it composed in the 1950s. American pianist Benjamin Pasternack is a soloist for Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, “Age of Anxiety,” and American coloratura soprano Celena Shafer takes the stage for highlights from West Side Story, Trouble in Tahiti and Arias and Barcarolles. Purchase your tickets here.

Cocktail Week GR

From Nov. 7 – Nov. 18, sample a handiwork of the area’s leading bartenders! The third annual Cocktail Week GR is your chance to join in the fun of Michigan’s creative beverage capital. Savor unique flavors while you get in on deals and discounts! View events here.

Grand Rapids Comic-Con at Devos Place

Partake in the fun of Comic-Con right here in Grand Rapids from Nov. 9 – Nov. 11at DeVos Place. There will be a variety of comic, media, YouTube and cosplay guests to meet, as well as a packed exhibit hall and panel. Come dressed to impress! Tickets are available for purchase here.

Wizarding Weekends at John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo is hosting two enchanting weekends of wizarding fun! On Nov. 10 – 11 and Nov. 17 – 18, come to see the zoo magically transform for this interactive event! There will be exhibits, activities, crafts, games, unique entertainment and even specialty foods both muggles and wizards will love. Activities are included in regular admission.

Grand Rapids International Wine Beer and Food Festival at DeVos Place

Ride with us to DeVos Place for this premier tasting event from Nov. 15 – Nov. 17. There will be more than 1,500 wines, beer, coders and spirits from around the world available to attendees. Single day ticket admission is $15 on Thursday and $20 on Friday and Saturday. Get a 3-day pass for just $30

A Very Merry Market Day

Get into the holiday spirit and shop for gifts at the artisan market at the Downtown Market! There will be more than 45 vendors and 20 indoor food vendors. This is a free event from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Art Van Santa Parade

Santa is coming to town on Nov. 17 to officially kick off the 2018 holiday season. The theme for this year’s parade will be “Sounds of the Season.” Enjoy local marching bands, carolers, performers and more. The parade begins at 9 a.m. and travels through Downtown Grand Rapids.

Pioneer Thanksgiving – Blandford Nature Center

Ride Route 7 to Blandford Nature Center on Nov. 17 for a fun, historical experience. Blandford’s historical interpreter will be creating a traditional meal like pioneer families from the 1800’s may have prepared. You’ll also get a better understanding of the hard work of daily pioneer life. After preparing the meal, you will eat together in Blandford’s historic Log Cabin. This event is free to members and $3 for non-members.

Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink Opening

On Nov. 23, your favorite winter pastime is back in season! Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink will officially be open for the ice skating season. Admission is just $3 for adults and $1 for youth, which includes skate rental.

Ride The Rapid for a convenient way to get to these events. Plan your trip here.

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Spooktacular Transit-Friendly Halloween Destinations

Halloween Destinations

It’s the most spooktacular time of year! Let us be your ride to all of the Halloween fun taking place throughout Grand Rapids.

With Halloween landing on a Wednesday this year, there’s a number of exciting and spooky events taking place before and after All Hallows Eve. Leave your car at home (especially if you’re planning on celebrating with Halloween drinks) and let us get you where you need to go.

Treat Stops

If you and your family love trick-or-treating, there’s a lot more than just visits your neighbors to fill up on candy!

Get dressed up and catch a ride to John Ball Zoo for Zoo Goes Boo. Enjoy trick-or-treating, costumes, entertainment, cool decorations, games and animal fun on Oct. 26-28.

The Monster Mash at the Kroc Center welcomes costumed visitors for a truck-or-treat occasion around the campus on Oct. 26.

Dawn your costume and Trick or Treat at Fulton Street Farmer’s Market on Oct. 27! This event includes pumpkin decorating, cider, donuts and other Halloween goodies.

Some other “trunk or treat” destinations worth checking out 🍫 🍬 🍭:

Spooktacular Activities For Little Ghouls

Make the most out of Halloween with unique experiences that aren’t just about collecting candy.

Creep through an enchanted forest and get an up-close look at animals during hOWLween at Blandford Nature Center on Oct. 25.

Enjoy creepy crawly fun for the whole family at the Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company’s Spooktacular! Taking place from Oct. 26 – 28.

Watch a free showing of Hotel Transylvania 3 for kids age 12 and under at Celebration Cinema from Oct. 26-Nov. 1. Show times vary per cinema location.

Enjoy the fall air with the Alger Heights Halloween 5K/10K Run and Walk & Kids Fun Run.  This annual family-friendly takes place on Oct. 27.

Día de los Muertos at Grand Rapids Public Library celebrates the Mexican holiday “Day of the Dead” with memorial altars created by local residents. Visit this event from Oct. 31 – Nov. 4

Frightening Fun

If you want to partake in a bit of fright, we have a few ideas for you.

Wealthy Theatre celebrates the season with a Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival of spine-tingling movies, October 23-27, plus two showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show on October 30.

Give an escape room a try! Locked 460 Escape Rooms has some fun, creepy escape room experiences for those who are brave enough to put themselves to the test.

Monster Mash Pit Stops

Get a costume and get your groove on! There’s no shortage of Halloween parties to add to your calendar.

Make an appearance at the Halloween Block Party at Garage Bar & Grill on Oct. 27. There will be a costume contest, outdoor beer tent, DJ and more.

Looking for a classy party? Don’t miss the Masquerade Ball at the Ambrosia Theater on Oct. 27. Dawn your costume and experience amazing circus performers, aerial artists and more while dancing the night away.

Monster’s Ball 2018 at 20 Monroe Live features Grand Rapids’ hottest DJs plus stilt walkers, aerialists, acrobats, illusionists and other entertainers on Oct. 27.

The JW Marriott hosts Just Wicked 2018 – Seven Deadly Sins on Oct. 27. Craft a fabulous costume and join the party!

Plan your trip.

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Catch a Free Ride to Grand Rapids Griffins Friday Games

Free Ride Fridays at the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI

It’s hockey season! The Grand Rapids Griffins hit the ice for their first home game of the 2018-2019 season on Friday, Oct. 12 against the Hershey Bears. Avoid the hassle of parking and travel safely to hockey games with the help of The Rapid.

Once again, we’re offering free rides to and from Friday home games at Van Andel Arena. This Free Ride Friday promotion gets you to and from the game at no cost to you. Just show your game ticket (paper or on your mobile device) to your bus operator when boarding.

You can plan your trip to Van Andel Arena by visiting and using our RapidConnect Trip Planning tools, as well as simply planning your trip on Google Maps (just choose the transit icon). View the full Griffins hockey schedule here

Go Griffins!