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Riding The Bus Can Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution

Bus on Grandville Avenue

As 2017 comes to an end, many of you are likely setting goals for the year ahead. Whether you’re planning on a big resolution or smaller, more manageable ones, the feat of sticking to these intentions isn’t always easy. What if we told you that riding the bus could be the much-needed solution to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions?

OK—We may be a little biased, but hear us out. Are you trying to stay more active? What about saving money? Riding the bus can be your secret weapon to sticking to those resolutions. Riding the bus, even just once a week, is a simple and effective way to stick to your goals for 2018.

Here are some reasons to get on board to achieve a variety of resolutions:

For those resolved to better budgeting:

If you live and work within The Rapid’s service area, cut down on monthly car costs by riding The Rapid for your commute. Whether you choose to purchase a 7-Day Pass or 10-Ride Ticket, you’re going to save big on what you would typically spend in fuel costs.Find out just how much you could save by switching to public transit via the Transit Savings Calculator.

The Rapid partners with the City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. to offer a free downtown shuttle service called DASH. Riding the bus or DASH shuttles means you won’t have to deal with the cost–and hassle–of parking. Two DASH routes connect Downtown to the Westside and Monroe North. These circulator routes connect to parking lots to allow you to park once and ride for free to your destination.

For those who don’t live and work within The Rapid’s service area, don’t fret! We also offer carpool and bikepool matching services and a vanpooling program through West Michigan Rideshare. These ride-sharing options are a great way to save money, cut down on commuting stress and do the environment a favor.

For those ready to get active:

If getting in shape is in your plans for the new year, riding the bus is a simple way to increase your daily exercise. In fact, studies show that those who ride public transit get more than three times the amount of physical activity per day than non-riders.

Walking–or running, because we’ve all done it–to the bus stop is an easy way to sneak in extra steps every day. Start by using our “Nearest Stop” tool on ridetherapid.org to find the nearest bus stop to your home or workplace.

For those seeking to go green:

Looking to impact the environment in 2018? While you should add more walking and biking to your routine, riding the bus can still help you be more green. Every day, public transportation saves the equivalent of 900,000 tanks of gas every day. In the U.S., public transportation saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually. Aside from these benefits, taking the bus also means there’s one less car on the road and positively impacts congestion.

If you’re feeling extra green, cut out your car altogether or consider downgrading to just one car in your household. This will have a significant impact on the environment and big cost savings!

For those looking to explore their community:

Become a tourist in your own city. Riding the bus (literally) offers you a window to your community. While you’re traveling to your destination you have a chance to enjoy your surroundings, which often leads to finding new businesses and locations to visit. Rather than focusing on the road while you drive, you’re able to discover a new restaurant or cafe.

Aside from finding new local spots to check out, riding the bus may also mean meeting a new friend. Many riders say they feel more connected to their neighborhood and community through taking the bus.

For those planning on more personal time:

Stressed and busy? Let’s change that in 2018. Sometimes taking a little time for yourself can be just what you need in your day. When you ride the bus you have time to enjoy a podcast, listen to your favorite music, knit or even reflect on the day ahead. Passengers continually share how much their extra downtime on the bus means to them.

Happy New Year and happy riding! We can’t wait to see you on board.

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2017 Holiday Service Schedule

Decorated bus

Happy Holidays! We are wishing a safe and joyous journey to all of you celebrating this season.

We wanted to remind you all of the following holiday service changes:

College & University Holiday Schedules

Grand Valley State University
Monday, December 18, 2017
through
Friday, December 22, 2017
Break Service 
Saturday, December 23, 2017
through
Monday, January 1, 2018
No Service
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
through
Sunday, January 7, 2018
Break Service
Grand Rapids Community College
Monday, December 18, 2017
through
Sunday, January 7, 2018
No Service
Ferris State University
Monday, December 18, 2017
through
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
No Service
Resume regular service on Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Grand Rapids Public Schools
Friday, December 22, 2017 Half Day
Monday, December 25, 2017
through Friday, January 5, 2018
No School

The Rapid will not run service on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. All service will run as normal on December 24 and December 31 prior to these holidays. To view our full list of holidays without service, visit https://www.ridetherapid.org/schedules-maps/holiday-service.

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Motivational Monday: Kids’ Food Basket

Kids' Food Basket

Did you know? One in five Michigan kids is affected by hunger. Kent County alone has 28,700 children that are considered “food insecure.” Kids’ Food Basket is leading the way to ensure that kids in our community don’t miss any meals.

Each and every weekday Kids’ Food Basket and their many volunteers are serving children across West Michigan with healthy sack suppers.

In fact, this non-profit is poised for growth and doing so much good that they’ve recently purchased land for a move to a larger facility. One crucial factor that impacted the location is public transportation access. On average, Kids’ Food Basket’s has about 175 volunteers per day and many of them ride the bus to get to their shifts.

Find out how Kids’ Food Basket and their wonderful team of volunteers are making a difference in a child’s life.

Feeling motivated to help make a difference in your community?  Kids’ Food Basket has locations in Grand Rapids, Holland and Muskegon. For more information on volunteer opportunists and more, visit kidsfoodbasket.org.

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The Rapid Ratifies New Labor Agreement with Bus Operators and Maintenance Workers

Rapid Central Station

On December 9, 2017, The Rapid Board announced it had reached agreement on a new three-year contract with the labor union representing the public transportation system’s bus operators and maintenance workers.

The Rapid Board of Directors ratified the agreement during their monthly meeting on Saturday morning. That ratification followed the acceptance of the proposed agreement by voting members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 836 (ATUGR) on Thursday, December 7.

“This is a positive outcome for our workers and the taxpayers in our partner communities,” said Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid. “We have worked hard to craft a contract that is beneficial to our employees, maintains an outstanding level of service to our customers and continues The Rapid’s legacy of responsible fiscal stewardship.”

The contract includes a three percent pay raise for all bus operators and a three and a half percent raise for all maintenance employees in the first year of the agreement. Both groups will receive annual increases of two percent in the following two years of the contract. The Rapid will also pay 80 percent of all health insurance premiums for union workers and will establish a new defined contribution retirement plan. The retirement plan will replace the existing pension plan and will establish a sustainable fiscal approach for the workers’ retirement fund and the transit organization.

“We are very pleased that our dedicated employees will receive these increased wage and benefit contributions and have the peace of mind that comes with having a ratified contract,” said The Rapid’s Board Chair Barbara Holt. “We value their hard work and recognize the important role these workers play in the delivery of public transportation services to the Grand Rapids area.”

The previous labor agreement expired in July 2015. The new contract will take effect upon final execution of the agreement between both parties.

You can review the full Rapid Board Agenda here.

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Give the Gift of Transit

Give The Gift Of Transit

Hunting down the perfect gift for everyone on your list this season doesn’t have to be a hassle. We have something that your co-workers, friends and family members will love. Transit is the gift that keeps on giving!

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. Whether it’s a 31-Day Pass or just a 10-Ride Ticket, transit makes a suitable gift for everyone on your list.

Tickets & Passes

  • 10-Ride Ticket – $13.50
  • 31-Day Pass – $47.00
  • 7-Day Pass $ 16.00
  • 1-Day Pass $3.50

Day passes offer unlimited rides within the timeframe after activated upon first use. While the 10-Ride Ticket is a great option for less frequent riders to keep on hand for transit access when it’s most convenient for them.

Where To Purchase

You can purchase your gift of transit online, on board The Rapid, at the Information Center at Rapid Central Station or at ticket vending machines at Silver Line Stations and Rapid Central Station. A variety of retail outlets also offer Rapid tickets including Meijer, D&W Fresh Markets and Family Fare. You can pick one up while you’re out doing your other holiday shopping.

Gifting Ideas

Bus passes make fantastic stocking stuffers, and they also pair well with offer gifts. Consider purchasing a bus pass to accompany event tickets or restaurant gift cards. You can also pair a bus pass with a reusable shopping tote or umbrella. If you’re looking to go above and beyond for someone you love, you can also purchase an entire year’s worth of transit in advance with just 12 bus passes.

Giving Back

For those who enjoy giving back during the holiday season, many local non-profits accept Rapid bus passes. For instance, the Women’s Resource Center, Mel Trotter Ministries, YWCA of West Central Michigan and HQ.

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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Transit-Friendly Events to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Transit-Friendly Holiday Events

Don’t let the unseasonable weather fool you. The holiday season is upon us!

Get in a festive mood by partaking in all the holiday events that the Greater Grand Rapids area has to offer. There’s something in store for everyone! Whether you’re hoping to find the perfect gift for a loved one or bringing your little ones to see Santa, there’s no shortage of activities this time of year. The best part is that many of these holiday festivities are transit-friendly, which only adds to the magic of the holiday season.

Ride with us to these December events:

Winter Wonderland at the Downtown Market

On Dec. 7, ride The Rapid or DASH to experience the magic of the season! The Market Hall will be featuring special offers, delicious food and beverage demos, as well as Santa awaiting your wish list in the greenhouse. During this event, you can also visit the Holiday Artisan Market featuring a variety of vendors. Winter Wonderland is a free, family-friendly event.

Routes 1, 2, 5 and the Silver Line can get you there.

Holiday Shop Hop

The Uptown Holiday Shop Hop is back on Dec. 7! In its 20th year, this annual event will ensure everyone on your holiday shopping list gets a present. Ride The Rapid to get to one of Uptown’s districts and then use the Shop Hop shuttles to travel around to visit more than 150 participating businesses. Don’t forget warm clothes and your reusable shopping totes! This event is free to attend and fun for everyone seeking to explore, shop and snack.

Routes 4, 5, 6, 14 can get you to Uptown.

The Yule Ball at 20 Monroe Live

Grand Rapids’ first-ever Yule Ball is taking place this year at 20 Monroe Live on Dec. 7. Gather with other Harry Potter fans to enjoy musical performances by Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers, photobooths, a Horcrux hunt, live owls and more. This is a 21+ event and tickets are $20.

Routes 1, 4, 6, 11, 13, 14, 15 and more can get you there.

Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Parade at Kentwood Public Library

Ride with us to Kentwood to get in the spirit of the season with a tree lighting and holiday parade! This event takes place from 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 8 and features hayrides, hot chocolate, cookies, live music, caroling and a special visitor from the North Pole. This is a free, family-friendly event.

Ride Routes 2 and 44 to get to the Kentwood Public Library.

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker at DeVos Performance Hall is a magical experience you won’t want to miss. This performance features live music from the Grand Rapids Symphony and ballet from Grand Rapids Ballet. Get tickets for performances on Dec. 8-10.

Routes SL, 11, 13, 50 can get you there.

Photos with Santa at Woodland Mall

Every day leading up to Christmas you can visit Woodland Mall to meet Santa! You can even plan ahead and book your visit with Santa to avoid the lines. Make the most out of this adventure by riding The Rapid to bring your children to see Santa.

Routes 5, 6, 17, 24, 28 and 44 can get you to Woodland Mall.

Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops

Ring in the holiday cheer from Dec. 15 – 17 with heartwarming, seasonal favorites like Sleigh Ride and Twas the Night Before Christmas. This family-friendly event is perfect for those seeking to sing along and enjoy the season. Individual tickets are $18 and student tickets are $5. This concert takes place at DeVos Performance Hall.
Routes SL, 11, 13, 50 can get you there.

Ice Skating at Rosa Parks Circle

Grab your ice skates and ride The Rapid to Downtown Grand Rapids for a skate around Rosa Parks Circle. You can even purchase a season pass for just $50 for adults and $20 for youth.

Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, 50 and the Silver Line can get you to Rosa Parks Circle.

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Motivational Monday: Women’s Resource Center

Women's Resource Center

Get motivated today to make an impact on your community! We’re partnering with FOX 17 to bring you a new segment that features local organizations, businesses and stories of good things happening throughout the Greater Grand Rapids area. It’s our hope that we can inspire more good to take place.

This past week, we featured an organization that’s empowering women in the community and giving them vital resources. The Women’s Resource Center advocates for women to achieve economic independence through meaningful employment. Through the Women’s Resource Center, gain access to tools to better their lives. From giving employment and personal advice to helping them put together a resume, to outfitting women for an interview, there are a variety of important programs available.

The Women’s Resource Center is located at 678 Front Avenue NW. Learn more about what this wonderful organization has to offer:

One easy way to make an impact through the Women’s Resource Center is by donating bus passes!

For more information about these services or to learn how you can get involved, call (616)-458-5443 or visit GRWRC.org.

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Smart Tips for Safer Winter Bus Riding

Don’t let a little snow and ice stand in the way of your bus ride. Winter may not officially be here yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start preparing for your winter bus travel. As you ride the bus this winter, here are a few smart habits to practice for a safer bus ride.

Bus riding tips for winter months
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Motivational Mondays: Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer's Association: A world without Alzheimer's Disease

November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. This disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 180,000 people in Michigan have the disease.

In our new partnership with FOX 17, we’re featuring organizations and stories to motivate you to make our community a better place. Last week, we featured The Greater Michigan Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Alzheimer’s is a journey that many families across the nation face, yet feel so alone. The Alzheimer’s Association knows what those families are going through, and provide so many resources to help out families going through this difficult time. Their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research to provide and enhance care and support for all affected and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Not only does the Alzheimer’s Associations provide families with endless resources, they also have committed volunteers who help those affected in any way by Alzheimer’s get to support groups or even special cafes for those dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s main office is located at 2944 Fuller Avenue North East in suite 101. Not only is their office located right along The Rapid’s routes, they also have two Memory Cafés and twelve support groups within a five-minute walk of a Rapid stop.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease in any way, or if you would like to help volunteer or support the Alzheimer’s Association, go to alz.org/gmc to see where help is needed in your area.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 180,000 people in Michigan have the disease.

Alzheimer’s is a journey that many families across the nation face, yet feel so alone. The Alzheimer’s Association knows what those families are going through, and provide so many resources to help out families going through this difficult time.

Not only does the Alzheimer’s Associations provide families with endless resources, they also have committed volunteers who help those affected in any way by Alzheimer’s get to support groups or even special cafes for those dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s main office is located at 2944 Fuller Avenue North East in suite 101.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease in any way, or if you would like to help volunteer or support the Alzheimer’s Association, go to alz.org/gmc to see where help is needed in your area.

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Make Your Voice Heard on November 7

make-your-voice-heard-graphic

On Tuesday, November 7, a renewal of The Rapid’s operating millage will be on the ballot.

We have been operating public transportation service for seven years under the current mill rate of 1.47. We are asking the public to renew the rate for an additional 12 years. A renewal of this millage ensures the continuation of the strong public transportation system that serves the Greater Grand Rapids area. Without millage approval, the majority of public transit service The Rapid provides would cease in the six-city region.

The Purpose of the Millage Renewal

At The Rapid, our mission is to create, offer and continuously improve a flexible network of regional public transportation options and mobility solutions. The renewal of this millage directly impacts our funding structure and our mission to provide convenient, affordable and sustainable transportation to the community. Along with passenger fares and state operating assistance, the property tax helps fund The Rapid’s operations budget. The Rapid is a public transit organization funded under Public Act 196 of 1986. This is the method provided by the State of Michigan for local transit operators to provide the necessary local funds for public transit. These local millage funds will provide approximately 35.5% of our operating budget. The remainder is made of fares paid by passengers 16.1% and contract revenues for service14.5% and local bus operating assistance (LBOA) at 32.7% from the Michigan Department of Transportation with other revenue sources making up the balance of 1.2%.

Millage funds are used strictly for expenses directly related to operating service.

Community Impact of Public Transportation

A millage renewal helps everyone, whether you ride the bus or not. The Rapid provides an average of one million rides per month, and these are people who are going to doctor’s appointments, to school, to work, to go shopping, or attending community events. A millage renewal ensures that everyone in our region has access to all of these things.

Minimum- and low-wage earners, persons with disabilities and senior citizens also rely on The Rapid to go about their daily lives. Some people need public transportation to get to their jobs, with more than 80 percent of rides being taken to and from employment. Many passengers use The Rapid to receive dialysis, chemotherapy and other medical treatments. Others are unable to drive or can’t afford to own a car and pay for auto insurance. Special-need students depend on the bus to get to school. The millage renewal is essential to The Rapid’s efforts to ensure our community’s most vulnerable citizens can maintain their independence and help low-income workers have access to affordable transportation options.

Make Your Voice Heard

Registered voters who live within the boundaries of the communities identified above in Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Grandville, Wyoming and Walker can vote on The Rapid millage renewal at their precinct on Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.