Posted in News on

Mobility As A Force For Health, Wealth & Happiness

It’s easy to think of alternative transportation such as walking, biking, and public transit as just a means of getting around. And on a community-wide scale, these mobility options offer a more green, environmentally-friendly appeal. But when was the last time you considered mobility as a direct for a healthier, happier, and more financially prosperous life?

In this TED City 2.0 Salon talk, former parks commissioner for Bogota, Colombia makes a passionate case for reclamation of public spaces for the increased mobility of all people. Gil Penalosa paints the picture of cities around the world where walkers, cyclists, and public transportation – not drivers and highways – are at the heart of urban life.

How has mobility transformed your life?

Posted in Rider Stories on

New To Winter Bus Travel? 20 Tips From Fellow Riders

winter bus travel

Winter is one of the best times of year to switch up your commute and try using public transportation. Catching the bus instead of driving means avoiding scraping and deicing your car, driving on slick roads, and the general stress of winter travel. For those of you considering getting on board this winter, who better to learn the rules of the road from then tenured Rapid riders? We asked our Facebook fans to share their top winter bus travel advice. Spoiler alert: Dressing warm is a definite must. Find what other tips are necessary for safe, warm, and relaxing bus travel this winter:

1. “Use the bus don’t drive! The bus will not get stuck, saves time shoveling out in the morning and is warm when you jump on.” – Timothy Wolfer
2. “Have your fare ready before you get on the bus…if the roads are bad every second adds up. The driver wants to make line up just as badly as you do.” – Andrew Dykstra
3. “Be nice to your bus driver; especially if the weather’s bad. They have NO CONTROL over the onslaught of snow, unplowed or poorly plowed roads, other drivers, backed-up traffic, etc. And chances are good that they’re just as frustrated about the situation as YOU are. If you get stuck in stand-still traffic for up to two hours (it’s happened before), just remember that it’ll be a much more tolerable two hours for EVERYONE on the bus if you try to make nice with the driver and other passengers.” – Cory Anne Stickel
4. “Which reminds me: bring something to keep yourself occupied during the trip Just in case it takes a while. Books and MP3 players are always a good choice.” – Cory Anne Stickel
5. “Wear boots. It is well worth the hassle of changing shoes when you arrive at your destination.” – Matt Anderson
6. “Even though the sidewalks are not always plowed, DO NOT stand in the road – not even in the median of the side street. The “added convenience” is not worth the risk of getting slid into or run over by a car.” – Chris Koens
7. “Plan your trips carefully especially on the weekends. Always take the bus before the bus that you need. Worst case scenario you will be early for work.” – Maggie Hall
8. “Transfer at the station instead of waiting outside.” – Lee J. Lamberts
9. “Make sure to leave enough time for delays in travel.” – Alan Graham
10. “Dress warm,dress in layers and be prepared for the sidewalks and walkways not to be shoveled!” – Meagan E. Jansen
11. “Use the bus tracker app [myStop for iOS] to check for delays ahead of time and stay indoors as long as you can and find a coffee shop or restaurant near your stop if possible.” – Eduardo A’carrochio
12. “[Wear] long underwear. Even when it dips into the 20s I find short periods outdoors in regular attire to be reasonably comfortable. And long underwear really isn’t a heat problem when you are just sitting at a desk. It is the perfect layer.” – Adam Tauno Williams
13. “Prepare and expect delays.” – Terry Simmons
14. “Take it slow because the aisle is always wet.” Spencer Anthony
15. “Wear your boots…and don’t forget your mittens and a hat.” – Tom Adams
16. “Merino wool socks in addition to boots can be a lifesaver for your feet!” – Angi Zamarripa
17. “Stay back away from the curb while waiting for bus or when your going to get on the bus.” – Nanette Rolph
18. “Catch the bus prior to your normal scheduled one and LAYERS, LAYERS, LAYERS…” – Anthony Robinson
19. “Check the real-time schedule info for your bus before heading to the stop.” – John Collins Mitchell
20. “Wear boots, layers, gloves and a hat — have a comb and change of shoes either at work or in a bag you carry. actually i wear two coats!” – Dan Cooke

Enjoy safer winter bus travel this season with the help of your fellow rider’s advice.

Posted in News on

8 Ways To Use Rapid Connect To Improve Your Commute

How do you stay connected to your bus route? Thanks to real-time information, keeping track of your bus is now easier than before. Our GPS-powered rider tools, known as Rapid Connect, have many options for making your ride on The Rapid more convenient. Here are a few ways to improve and even de-stress your commute:

1. Access Real-Time Information Regardless of Tech Abilities

If welcoming new technology with open arms isn’t exactly your style, you aren’t alone. But with Rapid Connect, tracking your bus in real time doesn’t have to involve a shiny new smartphone or app download. In fact, receiving precise real-time information is even as easy as dialing 616-776-1100 and choosing to the option for automated real-time information. We’ve made real-time Rapid bus information and much more available via your desktop computer, tablet, cell phone, and even your home phone.

TIP: “Play” with as many of the Rapid Connect tools as possible to discover which suits you best.Rapid Connect

2. Use A Smarter System Map

Go beyond the schedule book with the help of the Rapid Connect real-time passenger information system map. More interactive than a standard system map, this tool is great for seeing where The Rapid can take you and how to get there. The system map also acts as a housing mechanism for the many elements of Rapid Connect. From this point you can track buses, find routes and stops, receive real-time information, plan trips, check for detours, and even set route alerts.

TIP: Bookmark the Rapid Connect system map in your desktop and smartphone browser.

3. Track Your Bus

We know you’re busy and every minute counts, so why track your bus based on scheduled time when you can do it in real time? Whether you get you get your route information via the myStop iOS app or by calling the Rapid information line, staying connected to your bus can keep you at easy even on your least busy days. You can track your bus on the myStop iOS app by choosing your route and finding your bus or stop on the map or by simply using your GPS to pull the nearest stop location.

TIP: Even when tracking your bus in real time, it’s still best to plan for delays in poor weather conditions.

4. Find Stops Nearby

Even if you have never wandered around in the search of the nearest bus stop, you know the importance of staying connected to where your bus arrives and departs. Fortunately, the Nearest Stop tool located on our homepage and mobile website can help you discover stops near a location you’re planning to visit, or the location you’re currently at. Simply type in your address or use your GPS location to locate stops.

TIP: This tool doesn’t list all the stops nearby, just the ones in the closest vicinity.

5. Plan Your Trip

Even the most tenured riders can benefit from planning trips to destinations. Since our Rapid Connect Trip Planner is fueled by Google Maps, you now have even more options for planning the best trip for you. Transform your travel by choosing to walk less, transfer less, and compare how long the trip will be like at different times of the day with varied route options.Google map bar

TIP: We’re not sure what the technical term for the time-telling, travel-planning bar above the map is on Google Maps, but it’s incredibly useful for looking at all of your options.

6. Set An Alert

Never miss your bus again! Using Rapid Connect alerts, you can set a reminder for the stops you frequently use. Once you choose the proper location, you can choose how many times you would like to be notified prior to departure, as well as how. Once you set up a Rapid Connect account, you can choose to receive alerts via text message or email.

TIP: Alerts work great for your work commute both in the morning and evening.

7. Sign-Up For Public Service Messages

Stay connected to your route by receiving public service messages. These are notifications for everything from temporary detours and stops, to notices about holiday service. These messages are displayed on the Rapid Connect system map, but can also be sent directly to your text and/or email inbox upon signing up for an account.

TIP: Be sure to sign up for the routes that you ride.

8. Dabble With Apps

Even if you’re not an app expert, it’s worth trying out at least one of the apps offering Rapid information. Right now you can access Rapid bus information on myStop for iOS, Transit App, and Moovit. These apps offer real-time information with a twist, as their interfaces are all quite different.

TIP: Spend time discovering all the capabilities of these apps to help you choose your favorite.

How has real-time information changed your commute?

Posted in Places to Go on

The Rapid’s 2014 Ride Guide For The Holidays

The holiday season is upon us! The Greater Grand Rapids metro area is getting in the spirit with a number of events and celebrations throughout The Rapid’s service area. Enjoy all our community has to offer through the holidays by getting on board. Here’s a few events that offer fun for the whole family:

Holiday celebration lightsArt & Culture

Fox Motors Holiday Pops – Don’t miss the Grand Rapids Symphony at DeVos Performance Hall! The Symphony will be joined on stage by the Symphony Chorus and Santa will make a special visit. This event runs December 4-7; tickets start at $18, $5 for full-time students.

How to get to this event: Route 9, 11, 19, 51, Silver Line

UICA’s 26th Annual Holiday Artists’ Market – The 26th annual Holiday Artists’ Market will be held at Steelcase Town Hall. Shop for handcrafted gifts and goods from dozens of regional artists, including jewelry, home goods, fine art, holiday cards, accessories, and toys. Enjoy live music, local food and beverage vendors, and pick up incredible handmade gifts for your friends and family. Takes place Saturday, December 6 from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Sunday, December 7 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  6, 11, 13, 19, Silver Line.

Festival of Lights – Calvary Church’s annual Christmas production will feature the classic story of The Christmas Carol with new staging, a 100+ voice choir, a dramatic cast and more than 200,000 twinkling lights. Tickets: $6-$7.

How to get to this event: Route 14 & 15

HarkUp 2014: Start a Fire – The upbeat musical re-tells the story of Christmas through song and dance with a 100+ member choir, featured vocalists, dancers and a 20-piece big band. Performance days are December 5, 6 & 7 at GRCH’s DeVos Center for Arts & Worship.

How to get to this event: Route 2 & 24

Annual Barbershop Harmony Holiday Show – This musical event takes place at St. Cecilia Music Society on December 6 and features the Great Lakes Chorus with special guests The Sweet Adelines chorus.

How to get to this event: Route 4, 6, 14, 15, 60, Silver Line

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – The symphonic rock group best known for progressive interpretations of favorite Christmas carols is back again at Van Andel Arena on December 7 with “The Christmas Attic.” Performance times: 3 & 7:30 p.m.

How to get to this event: Route 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 19, 50, Silver Line

The Nutcracker – The Grand Rapids Ballet Company presents this completely re-invented production that will showcase the creative vision of ‘Polar Express’ author Chris Van Allsburg and set designs by Tony Award winner Eugene Lee. Opens December 12 at DeVos Hall; tickets start at about $23.Tickets start at $34.

How to get to this event: Route 9, 11, 19, Silver Line

Lessons and Carols – The Grand Rapids Choir of Men & Boys presents its Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols based on the King James version of the Bible December 13, 14 & 19 at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in downtown Grand Rapids. NOTE: This is a free event!

How to get to this event: Route 1, 3, 5, Silver Line

Schubert Male Chorus Annual Christmas Concert – The Grand Rapids choral group will perform their annual holiday concert with the theme “Home for the Holidays” on December 13 at the East Grand Rapids High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $18 in advance.

How to get to this event: Route 6

Gaither Christmas Homecoming – Multi-Grammy Award winner Bill Gaither presents the holiday spectacular December 13 at Van Andel Arena with the very best in Christian music and special guest vocalists and groups. Tickets: $23.50 and up.

How to get to this event: Route 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 19, 50, Silver Line

Edelweiss Christmas Concert – Joined by Ein Prosit Band, the Edelweiss Choir performs their annual holiday concert with German and Austrian Christmas music, authentic costumes and traditional carols. The concert takes places on December 21 at St. Mary’s on First NW.

How to get to this event: Route 7, 9, 51

Christmas Swing and Ballroom dance at DeVos Place – On December 23, the largest swing dance group in the world is hosting a very special swing and ballroom dance in the Grand Gallery of DeVos Place! Come for a night of dancing with hundreds of other dancers in a fun Christmas event. This is one of the largest dances in the area and sure to be a Christmas hit. Lessons @ 7PM. Cost $10.00

How to get to this event: Route 7, 9, 11, 12, 19, 50

Outdoor Events

Christmas for the Animals – On December 6, zookeepers from John Ball Zoo invite residents to bring gifts from the zoo’s wishlist to the animals. Open 10:00 am to 3:00 pm; free admission with donation.

How to get to this event: Route 12, 50

Ice Skating at Rosa Parks Circle The rink in the heart of Downtown opens on December 5 (weather permitting). Admission is just $1 for kids 17 and under, $2 for everyone else — and skate rentals are free with a photo ID.

How to get to this event: Route 6, 9, 11, 13, 19, 50, Silver Line

Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World – Celebrate the holidays at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with more than 300,000 lights, 40+ international trees and displays, horse-drawn carriage rides, a magical railway garden, and more. This celebration takes place from November 25 to January 4.

How to get to this event: Route 15


Wyoming-Kentwood Santa Parade – The South Kent chamber hosts its annual Santa Claus Parade December 6 at 10 a.m. The starting point is 34th Street & South Division, and the parade will continue south along Division to Chase Bank. Afterward, Santa will be available for photos. NOTE: Don’t miss our bus in the parade.

How to get to this event: Route 1 & Silver Line

Winter Wonderland – On December 10, the Downtown Market will host an evening of shopping, carolers and free food demonstrations, along with cookies and crafts for the kids.

How to get to this event: Route 1, 2, 5, Silver Line

Shopping Events

Uptown Shop Hop – On December 4, celebrate the season and support local businesses in Grand Rapids’ Eastown, East Hills, Wealthy Street and East Fulton neighborhoods from 4-10 p.m. Ride the free shuttles and hop from store to store while enjoying carolers, in-store promotions and entertainment.

How to get to this event: Route 5, 6, 14

 What is your favorite way to celebrate the holidays?

Posted in Places to Go on

Get On Board To Shop Local On Small Business Saturday

Riding the bus is a great way to discover local businesses throughout the Grand Rapids metro area. And the holiday season is the perfect time to explore what small shops have to offer. This Saturday, November 29, think local and shop small for Small Business Saturday.

Shop small for Small Business Saturday

Let The Rapid be your connection to finding great gifts throughout our service area. Here’s our list of great places to shop small this Saturday:

6.25 Paper Studio
Stationary lovers, this is the shop for you. Located directly downtown, this stationary boutique offers custom invitations, gifts, and greeting cards for all occasions.
Location: 40 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 745-5402
Nearby routes: Routes 1, 4, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15

Art of the Table – This unique retailer offers specialty foods from U.S. artisan companies, as well as wine and beer from small family-owned wineries and breweries.
Location: 606 Wealthy SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 301-1885
Nearby routes: Routes 4 & 5

Clothing Matters 
If you or someone you love appreciates quality eco-apparel, then this specialty retailer should do the trick. Find sustainable apparel from over 100 designers.
Location: 141 Diamond SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: (616) 742-2818
Nearby routes: Routes 6 & 14

DeVries Jewelers
Discover fine jewelry at this fourth-generation family business.
Location: 411 Leonard St., Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Phone: (616) 454-6892
Nearby Route: 7

Foot Outfitters
Quality shoes and bus travel go hand in hand. This local footwear and clothing boutique specializes in comfort footwear.
Location: 411 Robinson Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: (616) 451-4732
Nearby routes: 6 & 19

Frames Unlimited
This family-owned business offers everything from professional framing to restoration services.
Location: 2964 28th St. SE Kentwood, MI 49512
Phone: (616) 942-0091
Nearby routes: 5, 6, 17, 28, 44

Global Gifts
Here you will find fair-trade products from world artisans including jewelry, linens, coffee, and much more.
Location: 2055 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Phone: (616) 245-2225
Nearby routes: 5 & 28

Global Infusion
Fair-trade gifts, decor, clothing, and provisions make this marketplace a must-visit location for the holidays.
Location: 143 Diamond SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: (616) 776-9720
Nearby routes: 6 & 14

Grand Rapids Bicycle Company
Your local source for purchasing, repairing, and accessorizing your bicycle. 
Location: 644 Lovett Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: (616) 272-4861
Nearby route: 6

Hello Again Outlet Store 
This local luxury consignment and sample boutique offers men’s and women’s fashion pieces at great prices.
Location: 6095 28th St. Suite 3, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Phone: (616) 608-6265
Nearby route: 5

Hop Scotch Children’s Store 
Here you will find natural fiber clothing for babies and children, as well as natural parenting toys and gear created by local artisans.
Location: 909 Cherry Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: (616) 233-4008
Nearby routes: 4, 6, 14

Legends Sports & Games
Calling all sports fans! Located in Woodland Mall, this family-owned business specializes in sports collectibles, team apparel, and memorabilia. 
Location: 3115 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Phone: (616) 940-8173 x100
Nearby routes: 5, 6, 17, 24, 28, 44

This upscale women’s specialty store offers the best in apparel, accessories, jewelry, shoes, and cosmetics. 
Location: 1942 Breton Road, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: (616) 942-6300
Nearby routes: 5, 6, 24

Metal Art Studio Fine Jewelry
Offering designer jewelry from around the world, this local store holds something for every occasion.
Location: 978 Cherry Street, SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: (616) 459-5075
Nearby routes: 6, 14, 19

Minty Keen
If you’re seeking a vintage, handmade, or eco-friendly present, Minty Keen should be at the top of your shopping list.
Location: 40 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 551-1613
Nearby routes: Silver Line, 1, 4, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15

O’Connor’s Home Brew Supply
This local home brew store offers numerous products for current or aspiring home brewers.
Location: 619 Lyon St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 635-2088
Nearby routes: 6, 13, 15, 19

Old World Olive Co.
Discover the finest olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around around the world. 
Location: 108 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 884-0107
Nearby routes: Silver Line, 6, 9, 11, 13, 19, 50

Rainbow Music Inc.
Here you will find musical instruments for rental or purchase, as well as music lessons.
Location: 1148 Leonard NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Phone: (616) 774-0565
Nearby routes: 7

Schuler Books
A local staple, this bookstore also offers music and gifts. 
Location: 2660 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Phone: (616) 942-2561
Nearby routes: 5 & 28

Sissy’s Sweet Shoppe LLC
Seeking a bit of retro nostalgia? This old-fashioned candy shop has something tasty for patrons of all ages. 
Location: 38 Commerce Ave SW 104, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 710-1814
Nearby routes: 1, 4, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15

Spirit Dreams
This local shop offers a variety of gifts dedicated to holistic health, wellness, and spiritual growth.
Location: 1430 Lake Dr., Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: (616) 456-9889
Nearby routes: 6 & 19

The Cheese Lady Grand Rapids
While the shop name is an indicator of what lies inside, this local store also offers specialty items, gift baskets, and much more.
Location: 315 Fuller Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 242-9880
Nearby routes: 13 & 19

V&A Shoes
This local footwear retailer sells a variety of comfortable, quality shoes.
Location: 3620 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Phone: (616) 719-5840
Nearby routes: 17 & 28

What’s your favorite local retailer? Show them some love this Saturday!

Posted in News on

8 Smart Riding Tips For Winter Weather

It may not officially be winter on the calendar, but the season’s weather is now upon us. As you ride the bus in the snow and cold, there are a few good habits you can practice to ensure smarter and safer travel this winter. Here are eight bus riding tips for a smoother commute:

1. Dress warmly. Safe winter bus travel begins with warm and visible attire. Since winter road conditions affect all traffic, expecting bus delays means dressing appropriately for the cold. Start with a few layers of warm clothing and don’t forget to wear a hat or hood and gloves. Snow boots are also important for wading through deep snow.Children riding The Rapid.

2. Be visible. On dark winter mornings and evenings, it’s important that you make yourself visible to an approaching bus. Signal your presence with a small blinker light or flashlight. If you don’t have any reflective gear, wearing light-color clothing is helpful for ensuring drivers can see you.

3. Stand back. When your bus arrives, be sure to put some distance between you and the vehicle. Icy roads can lead to slipping wheels, so protect yourself by stepping back from the curb or arrival area and farther into the safe zone of the sidewalk.

4. Wait in a cleared place. When weather is heavy, bus stops may be completely covered in snow and ice. If possible, avoid standing knee-deep in snow. Stay comfortable by standing in the nearest cleared area and waving the vehicle down. Rapid bus operators are trained to pick up passengers in driveways or the nearest cleared area during poor weather conditions. Plus, your dry toes will thank you.

5. Step carefully. While our buses feature non-slip floors, it’s important to step with care regardless. Use handrails when boarding the bus to ensure your safety.

6. Expect delays. Winter weather conditions affect all traffic. During these times we are working to get you safely to your destination, and buses move only as quickly as traffic allows. If there is snow or ice, consider taking an earlier bus to ensure that you arrive at your destination on time.

7. Be kind to your driver. Please be respectful to your driver despite delays. If your bus is late, remember that your driver is doing his or her best to make sure you arrive at your destination despite bad road conditions.

8. Stay connected to service information. Before you leave to catch your bus, get the latest updates on detours:

– Check the Alerts & Detours page on or (mobile).
– Track your bus in real time and check public service message on Rapid Connect.
– Call 776-1100 to speak to a Rapid Customer Information Representative.
– Sign up to get route alerts and public service messages to your email inbox or via text message.
– Follow The Rapid on Twitter and/or Facebook.
– Check local TV and radio stations when severe weather conditions occur.

Remember these tips for safer and smarter travel throughout the winter.

Do you prefer to ride the bus in the winter?

Posted in News on

Honoring Veterans At The Rapid And Throughout The Community

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 so many Rapid employees who have previously and continue to serve our country. On Facebook this past week we shared the names and photos of our veterans. Here’s the full list of all of our honored service members:

Happy Veterans Day

– Robert (Bob) Bennett –  Army, 1974-1994

– Dan Shull –  Navy, 1970-1973

– Elza Beard – Marine Corps, 1984-1988

– Abe Riley –  Army, 1979-1982

– Ron Prys – Navy, 1968-1973

– Manny Esquivel – Army, 1967-1970

– Jodie Burns – Air Force, 1985-1987

– Donnell Harvey – Air Force, 1981-1985

– Norm Young – Army, 1975-1977

– Robert Olejniczak  – Navy, 1983-1993

– Doug Pierce – Air Force, 1975-1979

– Steve Clapp – Army/National Guard, 1986-2008

– William Morrison – Army/National Guard, 1981-Present

– Leon Carrico –  Army, 1970-1991

– Jim Archie –  Navy, 1983-1989

– Henry Borgeling  – Army, 1980-2010

– Betty Hughes – Air Force, 1976 – 1980

– Matt Oudbier – Marines, 2004 – 2012

– Andrew Pardee – Army, 2005 – 2013

– Joe Biven – Army, 2002- 2006

– Dave Krenz –  Army, 2002 – 2008

– Erik Zwolinski – Air Force, 2006 – 2010

– Noel Plaska –  Army, 1984-2009

We would also like to thank all of the veterans within the Greater Grand Rapids area. We are grateful for your service.

Posted in News on

6 Things To Know About Transportation In Grand Rapids

Craft beer, travel destinations, philanthropy — Grand Rapids is no stranger when it comes to topping lists. But transportation is one area that Grand Rapids and its surrounding cities are making waves in that may not be on your radar.

While public transportation and other non-car options may not be the first thing that comes to mind for most Grand Rapidians, people and organizations across the country are looking toward us for great transit lessons. In fact, Next City recently published an article touting why our great city of Grand Rapids earned a place on the “great transit map.” This past year has been a big year for transit in the area.  To get you up to speed, here are six things to know about transportation in Grand Rapids:

1. Grand Rapids is home to Michigan’s first bus rapid transit line. We launched the Silver Line on August 25, 2014. Nearly a decade in the making, the Silver Line offers riders rail-like convenience and comfort on a more cost-effective vehicle. The BRT route connects Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Wyoming, while offering access to several exciting destinations throughout the community.

2. The Vernon J. Ehlers Amtrak Station allows for a multimodal transit hub. Just last week West Michigan took a step toward improving the connection between Grand Rapids and Chicago with the opening of the new Amtrak Station. Named after the former West Michigan congressman, the new station location provided an upgrade for passenger rail riders. Also, the opening of the Vernon J. Ehlers Station ensured that Rapid Central Station would be truly a multimodal transportation center.

3. The Rapid’s unique partnership structure is beneficial. Our board is made up of 15 members from six municipalities in and around Grand Rapids. “We have six municipal governments working side by side, and I think the suburban neighborhoods really get a voice,” said Grand Rapids mayor and Rapid board member George Heartwell. Planning a unified system for everyone has been easier under this structure, he adds, whereas too often urban and suburban agencies collide on parochial interests and fears.

4. Grand Rapids has given a nod to transit-oriented development. In 2002, officials updated the city’s master plan on smart growth principles to encourage development that would public transportation use. Grand Rapids planning director Suzanne Schulz shared two important things to note about this update. One is that the planning commission can now waive all parking requirements for new developments. Second, officials decided that if a developer was in line with the new plan’s overall goals — “if they are building what the city wants,” Schulz says — the approval process can be wildly accelerated. Instead of going through city and planning commission meetings for approval, that developer only needs administrative permission.

5. It’s more than just public transportation, Grand Rapids understands multimodal travel. Aside from big strides in public transportation, Grand Rapids is focused on improving multimodal travel for all citizens. Both citizens and the city as a whole are focused on improving travel options for those not interested in the sole use of a vehicle. You may have noticed bike lanes springing up throughout the city. In a step toward communicating bike safety and the important of multimodal options, the city recently began ticket cars parked in bike lanes.

6. Other cities are looking to Grand Rapid for public transportation wisdom. With all of these great things taking place in Grand Rapids, it’s no surprise that the national Center for Transportation Excellence announced it would hold its 2015 transit initiatives conference there. They even called the city a “learning laboratory for leaders around the country.” Much larger cities across the nation are working to prioritize multimodal transportation options.

“People want transit; they’re demanding transit along with great bike facilities and walkways,” Heartwell says. “It’s good for a city’s growth. It’s good for air quality. And I think it’s going to be good for the city that makes those investments today.”

Posted in Places to Go on

Silver Line & Dine: Discover Authentic Chinese Cuisine at Wei Wei Palace

Calling all foodies! The Silver Line is your connection to delicious and diverse restaurants within the Division Avenue corridor.

All too often public transportation is used in a context that describes a means to live and work. But public transit is also a crucial connection to play. And with the opening of Michigan’s first bus rapid transit line, we’re excited to provide you with a guide to several establishments where you can “play” within close proximity to Silver Line Stations.

For those seeking to “Silver Line & Dine” on authentic Chinese cuisine, look no further than Wei Wei Palace. Just two blocks north of the southbound 44th Street Silver Line Station, Wei Wei is located at 4242 S. Division Avenue, inside the Kim Nhuong Super Store.

Photo courtesy of MLive.

A quick scan of the menu points to everything from barbecue to seafood, and numerous vegetarian options. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time devotee of this hidden gem, there’s a dish for every appetite. Wei Wei’s most notable menu item is Dim Sum, which is only available on Saturday and Sunday. Bonus: Dessert is on the house. Wei Wei offers free sesame rice balls to all patrons.  

Planning your trip to Wei Wei Palace is easy with our digital tools. Map your trip via your desktop computer using Rapid Connect or on your smartphone using the myStop app or Google Maps. If you don’t already have a ticket to ride, purchase yours before you board at any ticket vending machine at all Silver Line Stations, Central Station, or any participating locations. Savvy riders should consider purchasing a 1-day pass for $3.00 to get more for your money.

Let the Silver Line be your connection to exploring delicious food around the greater Grand Rapids area.

Where: 4242 S. Division, Grand Rapids (inside Kim Nhung Super Store complex)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily; Dim Sum offered all day Saturday and Sunday.
Rapid Route connections: Silver Line, Route 1, Route 44.

Have you rode the Silver Line to get to your favorite restaurant?


Posted in Places to Go on

Manpower Hosts Transit Accessible Job Fair

Calling all production, warehouse and labor workers in Grand Rapids! Manpower has more than 400 jobs available that provide steady income, as well as being located near bus routes.

Public transportation and jobs go hand-in-hand. Robust public transit infrastructure creates, supports, and provides access to jobs. This is why we are excited to announce that Manpower is hosting a Job Fair focused on jobs accessible by Rapid fixed-routes at Rapid Central Station.Manpower0logo

Touting opportunities for everyone, applicants are not required to have a high school diploma or GED. Simply bring your experience, along with your ability to pass a background check and drug clearance to a job that offers you:

– $9.00+ per hour
– Consistent steady shifts
– Clean and safe environment
– An opportunity to grow with companies that have outstanding reputations

The Manpower Job Fair will take place at Rapid Central Station on Tuesday, October 21st from 10:00am – 3:00pm.

Bonus: We know that great talent knows great talent and we want to reward you! If you refer someone to work for Manpower and they successfully complete their assignment you could potentially earn $100 cash for each referral. Help friends and family find a job and earn money for yourself! Come to the job fair to learn more.