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The Rapid’s 2017 Year In Review

2017 Year in Review

At The Rapid, we know there’s more to the ride. In 2017, there was more than ever before. What a year! We launched a new transit improvement study, introduced The Wave e-fare system, began our transition to a compressed natural gas (CNG) bus fleet and so much more.

Thank you for another great year!

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10 Events to Ride The Rapid to in January 2018

January 2018 Transit-Friendly Events

Hello, 2018! Avoid cabin fear and welcome in the new year by getting out and exploring.

Here are some events we can get you to this month:

Andy Warhol’s American Icons at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

Don’t miss this prestigious exhibition! Throughout January, visit the GRAM to take in Warhol’s celebration of America by bringing together a selection of unique paintings, prints, photographs and even film of iconic American products and symbols like Coca-Cola and the Empire State Building, of fictional characters like Superman, and of iconic Americans like Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, Muhammad Ali and Warhol himself. The exhibition is drawn from prestigious museum collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Andy Warhol Museum, GRAM, and other public and private sources.

Ride the Silver Line and Routes 6, 9, 11 and 13 to get to the GRAM.

Tuesdays on the Town

Bundle up and take a stroll through Downtown’s historic shopping districts until 8 p.m. every Tuesday. Get there via one of our fixed routes, the Silver Line (free within downtown Grand Rapids) or the free DASH buses!  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.

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.

Indie Flea Grand Rapids at Wealthy Theatre

Do you have some things still on your wishlist after the holidays? On Jan. 6, ride Route 5 to the Wealthy Theatre to shop local vendors and discover the best products in Grand Rapids. Grab your reusable shopping tote and get ready to shop!

Route 5 and 6 can get you to Wealthy Theatre.

New Urbanism Film Festival: Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids’ New Urbanism Film Festival is back on Jan. 11 at the Wealthy Theatre. Join ICCF & the Congress for New Urbanism: Michigan as we screen some of the award-winning films from the 2017 New Urbanism Film Festival in LA – including the highly anticipated feature-length film “Priced Out”. If conversations around urban planning, community building, gentrification, and/or city living fascinate you.

Route 5 and 6 can get you to Wealthy Theatre.

WinterWest

This family-friendly event takes place on Jan. 13 at Richmond Park and Jan 27 at Mulick Park. Dress in your warmest winter gear and come out to partake in ice skating, snowshoeing, sled races snowman building contest, fat tire biking, nature walk and food trucks.

This fun series that are free events in collaboration with the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Rec Department and neighborhood associations to encourage outdoor park engagement during the chilly winter months. See the full schedule of events here.

Plan your trip to Richmond or Mulich Park!

Winter Fort Building at Blandford Nature Center

Need an excuse to get outside? Ride with us to Blandford Nature Center for some kid-friendly fun on Jan. 13! Whether there is snow or not, come out with you family to see if you can build a fort or shelter that can withstand a chilly winter night. This event is $3 and requires pre-registration.

Ride Route 7 to get to Blandford Nature Center.

Nature Day at the Downtown Market

Visit the Downtown Market on Jan. 20 to experience the outdoors! Come get up close and personal with animals, learn interesting facts about their habitats and enjoy Greenhouse activities. This family-friendly event is free to attend and all ages are welcome.

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

Winter Concert Series at Kentwood Library

Catch some tunes by Matt Gabriel at the Kentwood Library on Jan. 18. This singer/songwriter performs folk and blues tunes we know you will enjoy. Grab a bite at the Patty Matters Food Truck while you’re there. You can also bring your own beer or wine to enjoy at the show!

Get to the Kentwood Library via Route 2 or 44.

Kids & Family Expo at DeVos Place

Beat cabin fever by taking your family to DeVos Place on Jan. 27! There will be loads of crafts, games, play stations, costumed characters and even a zip line. This event is $7 to attend. Purchase your tickets at the door or online here.
Located near Routes 11, 15, 50 and the Silver Line.

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Top Posts of 2017

Top Posts of 2017

What a year! We can hardly believe 2017 is coming to a close. This year, we have had many important milestones including the addition of new compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to our bus fixed-route bus fleet, the preparations for our transition to The Wave e-fare system and the successful passing of our operating millage. Take a look back at some of the top Get on Board blog posts from 2017.

We can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us!

6 TIPS FOR BUS RIDERS DURING COLD & FLU SEASON
OUTSTANDING RAPID EMPLOYEES OF 2016
WALKABLE NEIGHBORHOODS ARE TOP PRIORITY FOR MILLENNIALS & BABY BOOMERS
RIDER STORIES: EXPLORING THE BUS SYSTEM ONE ROUTE AT A TIME
MOVING ON AFTER 20 YEARS AT THE RAPID
LET THE RAPID BE YOUR RIDE TO THE GRAND RAPIDS COFFEE CRAWL
RIDER STORIES: I DIDN’T CHOOSE THE BIKE LIFE. THE BIKE LIFE CHOSE ME.
THE RAPID AND CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS ROLLING OUT MICHIGAN’S LARGEST FLEET OF CNG BUSES
INTRODUCING THE WAVE: THE RAPID’S NEW E-FARE SYSTEM
HOLLAND HOME RAYBROOK MANOR RESIDENTS LEARN TO RIDE THE BUS
ALIGNING TRANSIT FOR THE FUTURE
THE RAPID’S 2017 MILLAGE RENEWAL
THE SILVER LINE: MORE THAN A NAME
SMART TIPS FOR SAFER WINTER BUS RIDING
THE RAPID RATIFIES NEW LABOR AGREEMENT WITH BUS OPERATORS AND MAINTENANCE WORKERS
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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.