Posted in Places to Go on

Places to go: January 2017 Event Guide

Ride The Rapid bus

The start of a new year means a fresh chance to get out and explore. What better way to take in the city than riding the bus to an event.

We know what you’re probably thinking. Cold, snowy weather isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite time to venture to the bus stop. But riding the bus can actually save you time and stress since you won’t have to hunt down a cleared parking spot, scrape off your car or battle snow-covered, icy roads. Remember, there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. So make sure you wear your best snow boots, hat, gloves and warm jacket.

Here are a few winter events and destinations we know you’ll love:

Classes at the Downtown Market

Is learning to cook or bake on your new year’s resolution list? Throughout January–and the whole year–the Downtown Market offers an immense variety of cooking, baking, cocktail and skill classes for all ages. This month, there’s everything from a knife skills class to a two-day pasta workshop. You can even take a cooking class with your child. View the January classes and events calendar for a look at classes taking place. 

SL, 1 & 2 can get you there.

Skate & Create

On Jan. 7, experience the best winter fun that downtown Grand Rapids has to offer.  Enjoy skating at Rosa Parks Circle before warming up with a free cup of hot cocoa and art-making fun in GRAMStudio in the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Receive $1 off admission to the Museum for everyone in your group with coupon, available in the Skate Rental Room.

SL, 6, 9, 11, 13, 50 can get you there.

Grand Rapid Jazz Orchestra — LIVE at Founders

Visit the Founders Brewing Co. Taproom on Sunday, January 8 to enjoy live jazz! From 5:30-7:30 p.m. grab a beer and some food while you take in the live music for no cover. Better yet, if you work in a bar, restaurant, liquor store or coffee shop, you can receive $ 

SL, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 + can get you there.

The Philadelphia Story

Don’t miss the Grand Rapid Civic Theatre’s upcoming production running from Jan. 13 – 29. In The Philadelphia Story, wealthy heiress Tracy Lord is preparing for her second marriage when her ex-husband and a tabloid reporter arrive on her doorstep. This witty, sophisticated, classic romantic comedy has Tracy deciding between her past love, her present love, and a new love. This play first opened on Broadway in 1939 and rose to fame with the 1940 movie adaptation starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart. Tickets for this production are priced from $16-$30.

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

Concerts Under the Stars in Chaffee Planetarium

visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum on Jan. 19 to sit back and experience the wonder of the cosmos and the wonder of music. The first concert taking place in the Chaffee Planetarium will feature electronic and house music by Joshua Tree. His music is described as contemplative yet provocative analog electronic movements in the classic techno/IDM style. Concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments, beer and other beverages will be available for purchase.

Routes 7, 9, 12, 50 can get you there.

Kids and Family Expo

Is your family suffering from a bit of cabin fever? Ride with us to the Kids and Family Expo at DeVos Place on Jan. 21 for a chance to play, celebrate, get active, explore, build, learn and discover. Activities include a zip line, art wall, hula hooping, magician, craft areas, inflatable obstacle course and more. There’s a fun activity for every age in your household! Admission is just $7 for adults, $2 for children ages 3-15, and children 2 and under get in for free.

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

Shen Yun Performing Arts

Enjoy a cultural experience you won’t forget. Let Shen Yun take you on a magical journey and we will share with you the beautiful world of China’s divine civilization. Classical Chinese dance, ethnic and folk dances, authentic costumes, and breathtaking backdrops will do the storytelling, all accompanied by an enchanting orchestral sound. It’s a stunning experience you won’t find anywhere else. Performances are taking place from Jan. 24 – 25 with tickets ranging in price from $72-$122. 

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

Posted in News on

Top 10 Posts of 2016

Ride the Rapid on Fulton Street

It’s hard to believe 2016 is almost over. Take a look back at some of the top Get on Board posts from this past year.

The Rapid & Friends Celebrate Route 28

U.S. Transportation Secretary Announces $57 Million for Laker Line Bus Rapid Transit Project

Students’ Poetry Takes a Ride on the Rapid

DASH and Silver Line Enhance Routes to Better Serve Customers

New Records Set During 2016 Active Commute Week Challenge

Park Once & Ride For Free Around Downtown Grand Rapids

Sip Local at Cocktail Week GR

Driverless Vehicles and the Future of Public Transportation

Finding Santavious his Forever Home

Shop Local this Holiday Season

Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to Second Dance Consignment Shop

Second Dance GR

Are you in need of a new dress this winter? We know of a place where you can find something that will make you look like a million bucks without breaking the bank. We’ve partnered with FOX 17 to bring you a new local business to check out with a deal we know you’ll love.

This past Thrifty Thursday,  we ventured to Second Dance, a bridal and formal consignment shop located at 321 Division Ave. in Grand Rapids. The store features more than 1,000 dresses. Whether you’re shopping for a bridesmaid dress, formal dress, or attire for a special occasion, there are many options in like-new condition. All dresses in the shop are following current styles and trends.

In addition to prom and bridesmaid dresses, Second Dance also sells wedding gowns. Unlike other dresses in stock, wedding dresses are all sample The wedding gowns. This means they’ve never been worn before!

Thrifty Thursday Deal

Second Dress is offering Fox 17 Morning Mix viewers and Rapid riders Thrifty Thursday treat. Mention you saw them on the show and you’ll get 15 percent off one dress, any pair of shoes, or accessory.


Posted in News on

New Poll: Voters in Presidential Election Express Bi-partisan Support for Public Transportation Investment

The Silver Line

In the wake of the presidential election, there are few issues that unite Americans more than the critical need to ensure public transportation infrastructure continues to connect our communities. Recently, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a poll conducted immediately after the election that shows strong support for continued investment in public transportation, including among a majority of Donald Trump voters.

Nearly 70 percent of all Americans across the country support investment to repair and improve public transportation, per APTA’s survey conducted amongst voters of the last presidential election.
A large majority of Americans who voted for Donald Trump also support greater investment, polling at 65 percent of those surveyed. The 2016 First View Post-Election Research poll was conducted for APTA by the polling company Heart+Mind Strategies.

“Today’s poll release mirrors what we’ve found in the past: Voters from both parties support public transportation,” said Hearts+Minds Strategy CEO and Managing Partner, Dee Allsop. “At a time when there are many public policy issues that highlight divisions, public transportation is an exception.”

The national voter survey showed that:

– 81 percent of Donald Trump voters oppose any cuts to current levels of public transportation investment;
– 69 percent of all voters support the use of their tax dollars for public transportation. This includes a majority (53 percent) of Trump voters.
– More than 69 percent of Americans believe our public transportation infrastructure is in “crisis,” including 63 percent of Trump voters.

“While Americans may be divided on the overall direction of our country, we know this much: Voters for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump support public transportation,” said APTA’s Acting President and CEO Richard A. White. “Americans understand that investment in public transportation creates jobs and that public transportation will produce greater economic growth for our local communities. That’s something we can all get behind.”

APTA officials note through previous studies, economists estimate that for every $1 communities invest in public transportation, approximately $4 is generated in economic returns, both from job creation and from connectivity of our communities.

“There is a bright future ahead for our country when we unite to make smart investments in public transportation that connect and grow our communities,” White said. “This survey demonstrates that Americans agree. We urge Congress to take note and act swiftly.”

The 2016 First View Post-Election Research was conducted online with a representative sample of voters on November 11, 2016 and prepared for APTA by Heart+Mind Strategies. While steps are taken to make these results as representative as possible of 2016 voters, all sample surveys, and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with question wording and more. In the case where none of these sources of error are present, a probability sample size of 1003 would have a margin of error of +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level.

Posted in CEO Insight on

Finding Santavious his Forever Family


This week, we had a special guest with us at The Rapid. As a part of FOX 17’s Forever Home series, we had the opportunity to meet a boy with a two big dreams. His name is Santavious and he’s 11-years-old. He has been waiting two years to be adopted and find his forever family.15419713_10210882280924263_3446912052994217811_o

Santavious dreams of not only finding an adoptive family but also of becoming a bus operator.

“I didn’t know until the age of eight and I was like, ‘I want to be a bus driver,’ and I just was so excited that I wanted to have my dreams be met,” said Santavious.

We set up a tour of Rapid Operations Center to give Santavious a detailed look into his future career as a bus operator. Our Fleet Maintenance Manager Jeff Azzoli had the honor of leading the tour which started in the bus operator’s lounge. Right away, Santavious had great questions and was very smart, eager and inquisitive. We then gave him a look inside dispatch where he learned more about how we dispatch and monitor buses, as well as all of the technology used to expedite the process.

Azzoli eventually led us into the maintenance bay where we had a bus waiting for Santavious with his name on the front. He had the chance to sit in the driver’s seat and asked many questions about the bus itself. We then had a technician take the bus through the bus washer– a treat for everyone involved.

After the bus wash, we visited The Rapid’s paint room to see where all the custom painting happens. Santavious also got to take a look inside a bus undergoing engine repair. He asked great questions, especially in regard to bus fueling.

My favorite moment with Santavious, was when he wanted to learn more about the special license and training required for bus operators. I showed him my license, which has a commercial and passenger endorsement.

Meeting Santavious was a pleasure. All staff involved did their part to ensure he received a thorough look behind the scenes. I know he will achieve his dream of becoming a bus operator and I hope his forever family finds him soon.

– Peter Varga
CEO of The Rapid

If you would like to learn more about Santavious or adoption through foster care, please call his adoption agency Orchards Children’s Services at 1-(855)-694-7301.

Posted in News, Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Grand Rapids Children's Museum Mosaic

If you’re looking for some indoor fun this month, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is the place to go! Once again, we’ve partnered with FOX17 to bring you an awesome family-friendly deal this holiday season.

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is the city’s hub for hands-on learning for kids ages 2-10. Visitors will find exhibits, workshops and fun for the whole family. Located at 11 Sheldon Ave. NE in downtown Grand Rapids, the museum is just steps away from Route 1, 4, 6, 14, 15 and Silver Line bus stops. So getting there is a breeze if you’re planning to ride with us. Don’t forget, children under 42″ tall ride The Rapid for free and a One-Day Pass is just $3.50.

This month, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum has stations all around the building for the kids to make calendars, ornaments and cards to give to others for the holidays. The museum’s goal is to teach children about the joys of giving to someone else and the joy of sharing.

They’re also hosting a New Year’s Early Eve on December 31. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with your kids and watch the ball drop at 7:30 p.m. Grab a party hat, create firework pictures and dance and play your way into 2017. All while getting your kids into bed before midnight.  The party will happen from 6 to 8 p.m. and costs $10 to $12.

Thrifty Thursday Deals

Don’t forget on Thrifty Thursdays, join the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum for their Family Night from 5 to 8 p.m. for just $1.75 admission fee. And don’t miss their special offer, right now you can buy a family four-pack of admission tickets to the museum for just $15. That’s over a 50 percent savings!


For more information on their exhibits and hours, call (616) 235-4726.

Posted in In The Community on

Shop Local this Holiday Season

Art of the Table

It’s time to think small this holiday season. While Small Business Saturday may be behind us, you can still make an impact in your community by shopping at small businesses this holiday season. If you have holiday shopping to tackle, we suggest visiting local businesses to find something special for everyone on your list–and maybe even something for yourself!

We spoke with Anthony Puzzuoli of Local First to learn more about the impacts of local shopping habits and Local First’s Holiday campaign. According to Local First, when you spend money at a locally owned business, nearly 70 percent stays here in the community. When you spend at a national chain, only 40 percent of the funds stay local. Shopping local allows you to positively impact the local economy, create jobs, engage with your community, and receive a completely personalized shopping experience. Even if you’re only getting one gift a year from a small business, you’re making local reverberations.

We suggest kicking off your local holiday shopping spree by visiting Art of the Table, located at 606 Wealthy Street SE. The storefront is just steps away from the Route 5 bus stop at Wealthy and Union and a short walk from Route 4 at Eastern and Wealthy. This beloved specialty gourmet shop has a carefully curated selection of gifts for foodies, beverage enthusiasts, and entertainers alike. There’s something in this shop for every adult on your list. The friendly, knowledgeable staff can even help you in finding the perfect present for the harder to buy for individuals on your shopping list.

Amy Ruis, Owner of Art of the Table shared what holiday shoppers can expect while shopping at Art of the Table this month.

“Art of The Table is open until 9 p.m. every Thursday in December with wine tasting taking place from 4-8 p.m. In the store every day, customers can try samples of products before they buy and have their gifts wrapped gorgeously in store,” Amy Ruis, Owner of Art of the Table.

Art of the Table is just one of many small businesses participating in the Local First Holiday campaign. Some other participating businesses include 6.25 Paper Studio, Conscious Collective, Post Petals, Happy Michigan, Old World Olive Co., and many more. You can plan your holiday shopping trip to local businesses by visiting and planning your trip or finding stops near your destination.

Interested in getting involved with Local First as a member? Learn more about joining here.

Posted in News on

Instagram Roundup: November 2016

It’s hard to believe November has come to an end and we’re well into December. Are you ready for 2017?
Here’s a look back at some photos posted throughout November that were taken on our buses or nearby.
Have you started following us yet? Check us out and tag us or use #ridetherapid next time you see us or ride with us: @ridetherapid.

TFW it rains on you and you don't want to bike to the movies, but you remember that you have your pass on you.

A photo posted by Ken Miguel-Cipriano (@kenmiguelcipriano) on

Running a little late today #ridetherapid #grandrapids #chilly #outlines #fog #fogpeople

A photo posted by Robert Mathews (@robmathews1) on

Posted in Places to Go on

Get in the Holiday Spirit with these December Events

Ice Skating in Grand Rapids at Rosa Parks Circle

‘Tis the season to be jolly!  The Greater Grand Rapids metro area is getting in the spirit of the season 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 are a few events that offer fun for the whole family:

Light Up Downtown

Kick off the holiday season by joining in the holiday festivities in Downtown Grand Rapids! On Dec. 2 at Rosa Parks Circle, come together to see the annual lighting of the Christmas tree, ice skating performances, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, caroling, and much more. There’s a little bit of holiday cheer for everyone in your family to love. The best part is the entire event is free!

Routes SL, 6, 9, 11 can get you there.

Tuesdays on the Town

Need an excuse to get out and shop? Head downtown to shop and stroll until 8 p.m. every Tuesday! Start your evening with dinner and then enjoy some late night shopping entertainment. Explore all the local boutique shops, sports apparel, kitchen gifts, clothing, specialty foods, and unique gifts, salon/spa services. Various shops will have specials and other features like trunk shows, refreshments, demos, and music.

Routes 1, 2, 3,4, 5+ can get you there.

28th Annual Holiday Artists’ Market Presented by Steelcase

On Dec. 2, don’t miss a chance to visit the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) to shop for locally crafted gifts and goods. The Holiday Artists’ Market features works from dozens of  regional artists, including jewelry, home goods, fine art, holiday cards, accessories, and toys. Attendees will also have access to live music and local food and beverage vendors while shopping for for incredible handmade gifts for friends and family. Support regional artists by shopping locally this holiday season.

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

Photos with Santa at Woodland Mall

Santas coming to town! Don’t miss your chance to get a photo with him at Woodland Mall from now until Dec. 24. He will be located in the Macy’s court area. Santa hours are Mon. – Sat., 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Sun., noon – 6 p.m. View pricing and book your photos here.  You can even bring your pets! Just make sure your pet is in a travel carrier if you bring them with you on the bus.

Routes 5, 6, 17, 28, 44  can get you there.

Giftworks: Make it, Take it, Give it!

Experience the joy of giving with Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Each week offers a new project to create with your child. This event is running until Dec. 23, and takes place every Wednesday-Friday 10:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m., Saturdays from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  and 5:30-7:30 p.m. during Thursday Night Family Night. Price Per Person:  $8.50 ages 1 and up; $7.50 Seniors; $1.75 Thursdays after 5:00pm

Routes SL, 1, 4, 14, 15  can get you there.

Science Tuesdays at the Museum

Every Tuesday, you can visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum for an ongoing education experience offering science programming based on a monthly theme. Science Tuesdays take place throughout the day every Tuesday with a  variety of activities and interactive displays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This month, uncover the science of snow!

Routes 7, 9, 12, 50 can get you there.

Ice Skating at Rosa Parks Circle

Beginning Dec. 2, grab your ice skates and ride with us to Rosa Parks Circle to skate your heart out. Admission for 17 and under is just $1 and those 18 and older pay just $2. If you don’t own a pair of ice skates, you can rent them for free with paid admission.

Don’t forget that open skate hours are weather-dependent. Cancellations will be announced on the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation program update/cancellation line.

Routes SL, 6, 9, 11 can get you there.

Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops

From Dec. 1 – 4, enjoy all of your seasonal favorites at DeVos Performance Hall. Attendees will enjoy Sleigh Ride, the Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus, holiday sing-along, a visit from Santa, and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus finale. There’s no better way to kick off the holiday season.

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

Winter Wonderland at the Downtown Market

Experience the magic of the holiday season… Downtown Market Style! Enjoy special offers from our Market Hall Merchants, experience delicious food and beverage demos in the Market’s Teaching Kitchen, and shop the Holiday Artisan Market. Don’t forget to share your wish list with Santa in the Greenhouse!

The Nutcracker

After a sold-out world premiere in 2014, The Nutcracker, re-imagined by Polar Express author Chris Van Allsburg, returns for two weekends–Dec. 9 – 11 and Dec. 16-18–at DeVos Performance Hall. This production features choreography by Val Caniparoli and imaginative set design by Eugene Lee. Sugar plum fairies, fighting mice, and toy soldiers make this enchanting story the perfect tradition for the entire family. The Nutcracker will be performed in concert with the Grammy-nominated Grand Rapids Symphony.

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

A Christmas Story The Musical

Don’t miss the highlight of the holiday season; A Christmas Story, The Musical as it comes to life on stage. From Dec. 27 – 30 at DeVos Performance Hall, this perennial holiday movie favorite is coming to Grand Rapids. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream. What’s not to love?

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

Where are we taking you this month?

Posted in News on

Downtown Grand Rapids celebrates Small Business Saturday with #ShopSmallGR

Shop Small in Downtown GR

The holiday season is upon us. And if you’re like us, you probably have a holiday shopping list that needs to be tackled. Once Black Friday is over, the real fun begins. Who’s ready to shop at your local favorites on Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday takes place on November 26, 2016, and is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses throughout the country. Founded by American Express in in 2010, holiday shoppers are encouraged to celebrate this day each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Last year 95 million shopped at a local business on this day.

This year, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), Avenue for the Arts, and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., The Pop Up Shop GR, and Monroe Mall businesses will be partnering to celebrate Small Business Saturday. Ride The Rapid to downtown Grand Rapids to the Division and Monroe corridor for#ShopSmallGRm, which features nearly 40 small businesses and pop-up vendors. This event takes place from 11:00am-4:00pm on Saturday, Nov. 26.

After you shop until you drop, take a break and grab some coffee or a bite to eat at one of downtown Grand Rapids’ local cafes and eateries.  Turn this Small Business Saturday into a day of local exploration by riding The Rapid. All you’ll need is a bus pass, reusable shopping bags, and a friend.

Here are some #ShopSmallGR participating businesses we know you’ll love:

Dime & Regal

209 S. Division Ave #105
#ShopSmallGR hours 11:00-4:00pm
Scarves, jewelry, home goods–oh my! This shop specializes in handcrafted goods from local artists at affordable prices.

Gina’s Boutique

40 Monroe Center
#ShopSmallGR hours 10:00-6:00pm
Visit this shop to find women’s clothing and accessories.

#ShopSmallGR hours 10:00-6:00pm

East Meets West Pop-Up Thrift Shop

209 Division Ave. South
#ShopSmallGR hours 11:00-4:00pm

Feeling thrifty? Visit this pop-up vendor to find new and gently use women’s clothing and accessories in sizes 0-24.

The Artist’s Studio

40 Monroe Center
#ShopSmallGR hours 11:00-6:00pm

Discover original art, gift-size framed prints, cards, and limited edition giclee prints. All art by Rose Ellis and Jim Starkey. Don’t miss the #ShopSmallGR promotion – 10% off everything in the studio/gallery!

Heartside Gallery and Studio

48 Division Ave. South
#ShopSmallGR hours 11:00-5:00pm
This program of Heartside Ministry features artwork in a variety of media created by artists living in the Heartside area, often experiencing homelessness or financial distress. Artists receive 74 percent of the proceeds from sales, while the other 26% helps cover the cost of art supplies and taxes.

Apothecary Off Main

40 Monroe Center
#ShopSmallGR hours 10:00-6:00pm
This shop specializes in selling personal, home care products, remedies, and gourmet spices. They even had an entire section of their business dedicate to men’s grooming products. #ShopSmallGR promotion: Spend $100 and receive $10 off your next order. Look for savings on gift sets.

Humanity Boutique

40 Monroe Center
#ShopSmallGR hours 10:00-6:00pm
This style-packed boutique carries a wide variety of  modern, trendy and high-quality women’s clothing and accessories. Humanity Boutique partners with local and global organizations to help those who have been victims of abuse. #ShopSmallGR promotion: look for 25% off all fall styles, $29 premium leggings (reg. $48), $10 and under gifts for her, and a FREE gift with purchase.

Light Gallery + Studio

317 Division Ave. South
#ShopSmallGR hours 11:00-8:00pm

This unique space offers local Grand Rapids artists and makers a chance to display and sell work. The gallery features an array of goods from jewelry, candles, textiles, ceramics, and furniture which is all made by local artists.

There’s many other participating businesses and pop-up vendors to check out.