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10 Transit-Friendly Events in October

Autumn in Grand Rapids

Autumn is here, which means changing leaves and crisp sweater weather. If you’re like us, you’re likely hoping to make the most of the cooler, more enjoyable temperatures. Get the most out of the month of October by packing your event calendar with transit-friendly events and destinations.

Whether you’re planning on continuing to take in the variety of art throughout the city, celebrate fall with a harvest festival or enjoy local food and drinks, there’s something to meet your needs. Relax and leave your car at home or park it in one of the downtown Grand Rapids parking lots and get on board to ride with us for a relaxing trip to your destination.

Here are some events to check out in October:

1. ArtPrize

Get on board to enjoy the last week of ArtPrize Nine! Through Oct. 8, you can explore venues and exhibits throughout Grand Rapids.  This world-famous event offers the opportunity to indulge in art, explore your surroundings and take in all Grand Rapids has to off. With nearly 200 venues throughout Grand Rapids, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

Plan your trip.

2. ArtPrize Street Party with Local First

On Oct. 1 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., ride The Rapid or DASH to get to Sundance Grill for their first ever street party during ArtPrize. The party will take place on the Pearl Street side of the restaurant. Long Road Distillery will be joining Sundance Grill with some of their specialty cocktails, along with Founders Brewing Co. Aside from delicious craft beverages, each vendor will also be providing swag for the public.

The party is free and everyone is welcome. Drop 35 will be playing your favorite 80s and 90s tunes on the parklet. Also, in efforts to assist our friends in Texas suffering from this natural disaster, Sundance Grill will be donating 15% of all outside sales to the Red Cross.

Routes 6, 11, 13 and DASH can get you there. Plan your trip.

3. First Friday Gallery Hops 

South Division Ave becomes the ultimate destination to find artwork by local artists, handmade goods, and food and drink specials. While you’re out enjoying ArtPrize on Oct. 6, take a stroll down Division from 6 – 9 p.m. to visit local shops and see what’s for sale.

The Silver Line and Routes 1, 3, 4, 6, 14, and 15 can get you to Division Avenue.

4. Harvest Hullabaloo

Ride The Rapid to the Downtown Market on Oct. 7 to celebrate everything autumn has to offer from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. This family-friendly event features fall-themed specials from around the Market Hall; fresh fall produce and products from local farms; kids activities and games, including sack races, pumpkin races and a donut challenge, and last but not least, square dancing demos!

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

5. CARE Ballet presents Sleeping Beauty

On Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 at theEast Grand Rapids Performing Arts Center, CARE Ballet brings the condensed version of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet of Princess Aurora to life on stage. The one-hour version retells the story of the evil spell that puts the entire kingdom to sleep when the princess pricks her finger on a spinning wheel. With a kiss, the handsome Prince breaks the spell and awakens Sleeping Beauty. A wedding celebration follows, and several of Aurora’s favorite childhood characters arrive and perform for the Prince and Princess. Puss and Boots, Little Bo-Peep, Little Red Riding Hood, and Bluebird and Princess Florine all make an appearance.

Route 6 can get you there.

6. Midnight at the Museum

The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum isn’t just for kids. Visit the Children’s Museum on Oct. 13 for an adult 21+ game night!  game night for adults 21+ at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum with the Vault of Midnight gaming experts and refreshments from Elk Brewing. Tickets $15 per person and include admission, games, and one drink ticket. Additional tickets available for purchase.

Routes 1, 4, 13, 14 15 and the Silver Line. Plan your trip.

7. Yoga at the GRAM

The Grand Rapids Art Museum and AM Yoga will be hosting Yoga at GRAM, sponsored by Priority Health on Oct. 19. Bring a friend for Vinyasa-style yoga classes with instructors Ashley Yost and Mali Jane. All levels are welcome.

Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, Silver Line and DASH. Plan your trip.

8. Meyer May Home Tour 

On Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in October, ride with us to the Meyer May Home.  Recurring weekly this free tour lets you inside the famous Frank Lloyd Wright house located at 450 Madison Avenue SE. Take a step back in time to enjoy the beauty of this unique home.

Routes 3 and 5 can get you there

9. Grand Rapids Comic-Con 

Get on board to ride The Rapid to DeVos Place from Oct. 20– 22 for Grand Rapids’ very own comic and popular arts convention. Day tickets and weekend packages are available for purchase.

Routes 11, 13, 19, 50  and the Silver Line can get you there. Plan your trip.

10. Fork Fest

Enjoy an evening of local food and drink at  Romance Gardens & Greenhouses for Local First’s 7th Annual Fork Fest! This year’s event is presented by  Brewery Vivant and takes place on Oct. 26 from 5- 9 p.m. Stroll from booth to booth and try samples from more than 40 of West Michigan’s finest restaurants, farms, grocers, bakeries, breweries, and more. All samples are included in the price of admission and a cash bar will be available. This year’s event includes a quiet space, a large-print map of the event, wider pathways, and clearly marked way-finding signage.

Route 14 can get you there.

Posted in News on

9 Tips for Exploring ArtPrize Nine

ArtPrize 9

With more than 1,300 entries being displayed throughout Grand Rapids over 19 days,  ArtPrize Nine kicks off on Sept. 20 and runs until Oct. 8. This renowned event is the perfect chance to rediscover Grand Rapids while indulging in a variety of art, music, film and other entertainment.

With so much to see and do in such a short amount of time, it’s important that you get the most out of your ArtPrize experience. Here are 9 tips for getting the most out of ArtPrize this year:

1. Leave Your Car At Home

Parking spots are a hot commodity during this event. Rather than dealing with the stress and cost of parking, leave your car at home or park it at Meijer and ride The Rapid. If you’re traveling from the outskirts of Grand Rapids, seven area Meijer locations are offering up their parking lots for you to use. You can also park at either of the Silver Line Park ‘n’ Ride lot located at 60th Street and Division and Burton and Division. We’ll help you do the driving and make your ArtPrize experience more enjoyable.

2. Purchase an ArtPrize Metro Pass

While at Meijer, you can also purchase an ArtPrize Metro Pass. For just $5, you’ll receive unlimited rides on the Silver Line and 10 rides on Rapid fixed-route buses. This amazing transit deal also includes an exclusive day pass to the ArtPrize Clubhouse where you can enjoy a free drink, snacks and a place to rest in between venues.

3. Try New Transit

Transit is the smartest way to get around ArtPrize, so why not give all forms a try? Aside from The Rapid’s regular fixed-route buses, there’s also the Silver Line and DASH that can keep you moving. All three of these bus options provide unique benefits and connection opportunities. Whether it means parking and riding the Silver Line from 60th Street or using one of the parking lots on the edge of Downtown, these transit options can get you to the center of the ArtPrize action.

One major bonus is that both Silver Line and DASH are free to passengers riding within the Downtown area. This year, DASH West will even be running on extended hours seven days a week to ensure that you can see all that ArtPrize has to offer with the ease and convenience of the Downtown shuttle service. ArtPrize is the perfect excuse to get out and try a new form of transportation!

4. Get Friendly With Apps

Did you know that ArtPrize has its very own app? Aside from being able to cast your vote for your favorite entries, the ArtPrize app also offers visitors continuously updated information on announcements, events, venues and much more. Download the app from the Apple Store of Google Play today to get prepared for the week ahead.

If you’re riding The Rapid, DASH or the Silver Line, you can also access real-time bus information via several different third-party bus tracking apps. Our favorite is myStop, which will allow you to plan your transit trips, track your bus in real time and see what stops are nearby. This will make navigating the city and transit even easier for you.

5. Check out the Pantone Pathways

These pathways provided by X-Rite Pantone offer clear paths of travel for ArtPrize explorers to navigate their way through this 19-day event. There are six pathways that highlight each neighborhood’s character including local businesses, distinct neighborhoods as we as features venues and activities. Each path is just 2.4 miles or less so you can experience nearly all venues from pathway access.

6. Experience Beer City

Take in all that Beer City USA has to offer by using ArtPrize’s Brew Lovers’ Experience Guide. You’ll start your journey at Founders Brewing Co. (across the street from Rapid Central Station) and journey through Grand Rapids as you explore beer offerings. There’s also the option of some coffee exploration on the guide. Check it out.

7. Enjoy Music + Film

There’s a lot more to ArtPrize than just art installations. ArtPrize Nine attendees will have access to ArtPrize on Screen, which is a film festival featuring six feature-length documentary films, each accompanied by a Michigan-made short. This year, you can also enjoy music at the second annual HopCat WYCE Blue Bridge Music Festival with music from eight musicians and bands from across the country.

8. Make It A Family Experience

ArtPrize offers fun for the whole family. Enjoy a variety of interactive activities to unleash your creative spirit during this event. Stop by ArtPrize Labs Studios to create your own piece of art, visit the STEAM Village to experience the power of art and creativity and so much more. Here’s the full list of family-friendly events taking place throughout the city.

9. Plan Ahead

With so much to see and do in such a just over two weeks, checking out the artists and venues beforehand is a great way to ensure you don’t miss anything. Take a look around the ArtPrize website to map out all of the locations you don’t want to miss and even discover news places in Grand Rapids! You may even want to plan your walking, biking or transit trip in advance. Our RapidConnect Trip Planner is a handy assistant for this task.

Enjoy ArtPrize! See you on board.

Posted in News on

The Rapid’s 2017 Millage Renewal

The Rapid's passengers

A renewal of The Rapid’s operating millage that funds Greater Grand Rapids public transportation system is up for a vote on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

Here’s what you need to know before heading to the polls:

What will the millage renewal accomplish?

To continue to provide public transportation services to the Greater Grand Rapids area.  We have been operating public transit services for seven years under the current mill rate of 1.47 and we are asking the public to renew the rate for an additional 12 years. Without the renewal approval, most of the public transit services would cease in the six city region.   Our Mission statement is included below:

Our Mission & Vision
Our mission is to create, offer, and continuously improve a flexible network of regional public transportation options and mobility solutions.

We envision a future in our growing community in which:

    • –  Citizens can live conveniently without owning a car.
    • –  More citizens choose public transportation because it is an easy, economical, and efficient way of getting where they want to go.
    • –  Employers choose our community because it provides multiple solutions for getting employees to work.
    • –  Public transit serves as an economic engine.
    • –  Public transportation is an integral part of the life of every citizen in the region and creates opportunities.
    • –  Public transportation supports sustainability and economic development.

What’s the purpose of the tax?

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%.

Who pays the property tax?

Property owners in the 6 cities of Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Wyoming, Walker, and Grandville.

What communities does The Rapid serve in Kent County?

The Rapid serves the cities of Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Wyoming, Walker, and Grandville

How much will this cost?

There is no additional cost for a renewal – the tax will be renewed at its current rate of 1.47 mils. For a $100,000 home with a taxable value of $50,000, the homeowner would pay roughly $73.50 per year.

How will the millage funds be used?

Millage funds are used strictly for expenses directly related to operating service (labor, fuel, etc.).

Whom does a millage renewal help?

A millage renewal helps everyone, whether you ride the bus or not. The Rapid provides an average of 1 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. 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.

How does a millage renewal help support local school systems?

Many Grand Rapids Public Schools students ride The Rapid to get back and forth to school. A millage renewal ensures that these students have the transportation they rely on each and every day to get to and from school.

How does a millage renewal help the local environment?

A millage renewal will allow The Rapid to continue to improve the quality of the air we breathe by reducing automobile dependency, and thereby reduce emissions. The Rapid will be able to continue its conversion to a 100% compressed natural gas fleet of buses, as well as continue operation of its fleet of propane fueled paratransit vehicles. Research shows that public transportation has a positive impact on our environment: it saves the equivalent of 900,000 tanks of gas every day; it produces nearly half as much carbon dioxide as private automobiles per passenger mile traveled; and it reduces carbon monoxide by almost 745,000 tons annually (source: American Public Transportation Association).

Who can vote on the proposal?

Registered voters who live within the boundaries of the communities identified above in Question #3 can vote on The Rapid millage renewal at their precinct on Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

You can also obtain an absentee ballot from the City or Township Office where you are registered. The deadline to apply to receive an absent voter ballot by mail is 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. After this deadline, you may vote an absent voter ballot in person at your local clerk’s office up until 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.

Please note: No absentee voter ballots will be supplied through a telephone request. They must be requested in writing. An absentee voter ballot application is available at

Where do I vote?

Polling locations are available online through the Kent County Clerk website:

If you are still unsure of your polling place, please contact your local City/Township office.

Posted in Events on

Let us be Your Ride to ArtPrize Nine

ArtPrize Nine Metro Pass

ArtPrize Nine kicks off on Sept. 20. It’s not too early to start planning how you will get to and around this 19-day public art event. Beat traffic the hunt and cost of parking this year using The Rapid as your means of  ArtPrize transportation!

Travel Smarter

We’re making it even easier by once again partnering with ArtPrize to feature the ArtPrize Metro Pass. For just $5, you can ride 10 times on The Rapid’s fixed routes and receive unlimited rides on the Silver Line from Sept. 20 through Oct. 8. Essentially, this pass acts as a 10-ride ticket within the farebox of Rapid fixed-route vehicles. On the Silver Line, just be sure you carry it with you to present to the Fare Enforcement Officers you may meet along your way.

Enjoy Perks

As if saving money on transit wasn’t a deal in itself, there’s also more to love at the Metro Pass. This amazing deal also includes the perk of an exclusive day pass to the ArtPrize Clubhouse. At the Clubhouse, you’ll have access to a free drink, snacks and a place to rest your feet. There’s also an added bonus of a discount at the ArtPrize HUB/HQ retail store so you can pick up some ArtPrize gear and goodies.

Access Free Parking

Starting in mid-September, head to any of the seven area Meijer Park & Ride locations to pick up your Metro Pass. If you’re planning to park your car outside of Downtown and ride The Rapid to ArtPrize, parking is free in the seven area Meijer lots. Just park and hop on the next available bus with through service to ArtPrize. Bundled with your Metro Pass will be the ArtPrize Nine Event Guide to help you navigate the event.

Try New Transit

Don’t forget you can also park for free at the Silver Line’s 60th Street Park ‘n’ Ride Lot and take the Silver Line Downtown. Just be sure that you have your ArtPrize Metro Pass with you during your travels. You can also park on the edges of Downtown Grand Rapids and use DASH West and North to get you to the center of the ArtPrize action for free.

Art + Music + Film 

As always, there’s a lot more to ArtPrize than just art installments. ArtPrize Nine attendees will have access to ArtPrize on Screen, which is a film festival featuring six feature-length documentary films, each accompanied by a Michigan-made short. This year during ArtPrize Nine, you can also enjoy music at the second annual HopCat WYCE Blue Bridge Music Festival with music from eight musicians and bands from across the country.

Learn more about taking the bus to ArtPrize Nine and all that this one-of-a-kind event has to offer here.

Posted in News on

Help Us Improve the Transit Experience


A better transit experience starts with you. Let’s align for better transit in our six-city service area and beyond.

The Align Transit Improvement Study is underway to identify, analyze and prioritize a set of transit improvements that can be made to the existing bus system to improve the overall transit experiences in Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities. This study will look for ways to add to and improve the network, recommend land use and other policies to help grow ridership and determine the improvements the public would like to see for the system. One of the most crucial aspects of this study is public feedback.

While The Rapid has helped connect thousands of people across our community for years, there’s always room for improvement. We want to provide you with a better transit experience—but we can’t do that without your input. It’s time to work together and align for a better future of public transit in our region.

The Align Transit Improvement Study feedback activity will allow you to provide feedback by prioritizing transit improvements, sharing details about the improvements you’re seeking and laying them out on a map. All of this will help us fine tune your feedback for a better transit experience for all.

Get Involved

Please share your ideas with us by visiting our MetroQuest feedback page.

MetroQuest survey page
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Ride The Rapid to D’arts Donuts

D'arts Donuts

Craving something out of the ordinary? Forget the typical glazed donut. D’arts Donuts in Eastown has a deliciously unique menu of donut options.

D’arts Donuts takes a homemade recipe passed from generation to generation and puts a spin on them with creations like the whiskey bacon, blueberry lemon, and Creamsicle donuts. Their donuts are made with whole ingredients and no preservatives from scratch every morning. Other menu options include breakfast and lunch sandwiches with the bread or bun replaced by a plain donut and poutine featuring hand cut fries. Yum!

If you’re craving something a bit different, ride Route 6 to visit D’arts Donuts!

Learn more about their menu at

Posted in Places to Go on

8 Places to Ride The Rapid to in September 2017

September in Grand Rapids

We may be saying goodbye to summer but that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of fun things to do throughout Grand Rapids! This September, fill your calendar with a trip to the John Ball Zoo, the Downtown Market, Grand Rapids parks and so much more.

Get out and explore these events this month:

Movies in the Park

This outdoor movie event will be hosted in Heartside Park and feature Selena and The Bodyguard. Pre-movie entertainment kicks off at 6 p.m. with DJ SupreDre and Gabriella de la Vega of El Mundo Musical. If you come in a Selena look-a-like costume you will be entered to win a Selena by MAC makeup prize package! Don’t forget to wear warm clothing and bring a blanket or chair.

Route 2 can get you there but Heartside Park is located within walking distance from Rapid Central Station.

Monarch Day at John Ball Zoo

On Saturday, Sept. 9, spend the day celebrating the beauty of Monarch Butterflies at John Ball Zoo! From 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monarchs will be released on the hour for their migration south to Mexico for the winter. Learn more about this amazing journey by watching the public release of tagged Monarchs, enjoying crafts and finding out how you can help Monarch Butterflies. You can even release your own Monarch Butterfly for just $6. Purchase yours here.

Routes 12, 50 can get you there. Plan your trip.

Live Band Swing Dancing

Get out and dance every Tuesday at Rosa Parks Circle or Ah-Nab-Awen Park! Enjoy live music from Hark Up Horns and bring your dancing shoes. If you’ve never been swing dancing before, it’s worth a try! This event rotates park venues, so be sure to check the location here before attending.

Plan your trip.

Mexican Festival 2017

On Sept. 15 and 16, ride The Rapid to Heartside Park for this free event where you and your entire family can enjoy Mexican entertainment, food, artisan vendors and other activities. The Mexican Festival is celebrating the 47th anniversary and is the oldest ethnic festival in the City of Grand Rapids!

Route 2 can get you there but Heartside Park is located within walking distance from Rapid Central Station.

Calendar Girls by Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

Cozy into fall with some comedy. Grand Rapids Civic Theatre is hitting the stage with this comedic play is set in England and is about a woman who puts together a pin-up calendar featuring her middle-aged garden club members. Calendar Girls opens Sept. 15 and runs until Oct. 1. Standard ticket prices range from $16-28. Get yours here.

Better yet, grab your girlfriends and make a special trip to the Women’s City Club for the Ladies Night Out special presentation of this play on Sept. 21. Get your tickets here.

Fall Bridal Show of West Michigan

Getting married soon? Head to DeVos Place on Sept. 22 and 23 to enjoy a wedding planning extravaganza all under one roof. This event includes fashion shows, bridal wear, tuxedos, floral, catering, venues and so much more.

Ride Routes 11, 50 and the Silver Line to get there.

Made In Michigan Pop-Up Marketplace at the Downtown Market

This is the perfect event for those seeking artisan gifts, local treats and just about any kind of Michigan-made good. If you’re a fan of Earth-friendly goods, this will be a special version of the pop-up market with loads of up-cycled, renewable, organic and eco-friendly goods. Visit the Downtown Market on Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for this wonderful pop-up event. This is the last one of the season!

Ride Routes 1, 2, 5 or the Silver Line.


Explore all that ArtPrize Nine has to offer by taking the bus! This world famous event lasts from Sept. 20 – Oct. 8. Enjoy 19 days of indulging in art, exploration of your surroundings and all that our wonderful city has to off. With nearly 200 venues throughout Grand Rapids, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

Plan your trip.

Posted in News on

Aligning Transit for the Future

Align Regional Map

Public transportation is a vital part of Grand Rapids and its surrounding communities—whether you ride The Rapid daily, once in a while, or have yet to try public transportation. While The Rapid has helped connect thousands of people across our community for years, there’s always room for improvement. It’s time to work together and align for better public transit in Grand Rapids metro region.

The Align Transit Improvement Study is a new year-long project (beginning in June 2017) to identify, analyze and prioritize a set of transit improvements that can be made to the existing bus system to improve the overall transit experiences in Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities. This study will look for ways to add to and improve the network, recommend land use and other policies to help grow ridership and determine the improvements the public would like to see for the system.

“The Align Study is important to The Rapid because it will hone in on service enhancements that are desired by the community, ” said Conrad Venema, The Rapid’s Strategic Planning Manager.

With previous transit projects underway, the Align Transit Improvement Study will build upon the Silver Line and Laker Line bus rapid transit (BRT) systems to identify opportunities to advance and potentially expand transit service within the urbanized area.

“The Rapid realizes that as the community grows, it’s vital for our transit system to adapt to the changing needs of users.  The Align Study will help The Rapid achieve its goal of providing safe and equitable service that connects people to jobs, promotes economic development and offer a first- class transit experience,” Venema said.

With the help of the public, the Align Transit Improvement Study hopes to accomplish the following:

  • —   Enhance transit services that provide a competitive option to congested roadways

  • —   Provide safe and equitable access to The Rapid network

  • —   Service existing and future population and employment centers

  • —   Support urban revitalization and economic development

Learn more about the Align Transit Improvement Study here.

Posted in In The Community on

Eat Your Way Through Grand Rapids for Restaurant Week GR 2017

Restaurant Week GR 2017

If you’re looking for an excuse to get out and try new restaurants then Restaurant Week GR is for you.

This 11-day event hosted by Experience Grand Rapids is a celebration of exceptional local food in Grand Rapids. From Aug. 9 – 20, more than 70 restaurants throughout the city will put special, fixed-price menus for patrons to devour. Some restaurants are even offering lunch menus. For these, it’s $14 per person for a two-course meal. For dinner, a three-course meal comes in at $28 for either one person or two, depending on the restaurant. There’s a wide variety of menu options from participating restaurants, which means there’s no shortage of delicious meal items to choose from.

Dining for Restaurant Week GR does more than just support local restaurants. It also contributes to the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education Student Scholarship Fund at Grand Rapids Community College. Restaurants donate $1 from each meal sold to this fund!

The best part about Restaurant Week GR is the almost all of the participating dining locations are transit-friendly! View the full list of participants here and plan your trip to them by visiting

Make your reservations now!

Posted in Rider Stories on

Rider Stories: Anthony Talks Smartphones, Local Businesses and Bikes on The Rapid

Central Station at Night

The following is written by Anthony Wilder Puzzuoli, a Grand Rapids citizen and Rapid rider. One of Anthony’s 2017 resolutions is to ride all of The Rapid’s routes. He’s sharing his experiences with us as he goes. You can find his first blog here.


I’ve owned a smartphone for a little over two years now. I can think of a lot of ways it’s made my life easier. I can also think of a lot of ways it’s made me less present in my daily life. It’s a constant internal struggle for me whether the smartphone is a positive or negative in my life and I’ve often debated going smartphone free. One way that it is most definitely a positive thing for me is in traveling. Being able to access maps and information about better routes and places to stop can make traveling easier and less stressful. Traveling by bus has been no exception.

Usually, by the time our monthly billing cycle is ending, my wife and I have run out of data (too much Spotify), and my smartphone is pretty useless as a way to quickly access the internet. The Rapid’s website is a great resource for routes and planning trips – if you can access it. On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself sitting on the bus, trying to figure out when my stop was coming up or where to get off to transfer to another route and wishing I hadn’t let our road trip playlist run while we were at dinner for two hours. It’s only resulted in a bit of confusion and a few inefficient trips, but it’s made me realize how much I rely on a connection to the internet for basic things, not just music and looking up baseball scores. I also noticed that the schedule books that used to be on every bus were not available on any of the buses I was riding. With more things shifting to a digital format, maybe I’ll hold onto that smartphone for bit longer…


I work at an organization in town called Local First. I’ve been there for close to four years now. Our organization works with around 900 different businesses in the West Michigan, the majority of which are located in the Grand Rapids. I wish I could say I’ve visited each of those businesses, but I haven’t. However, since I’ve been riding the bus, I’ve been seeing our member’s buildings and signs. It’s a small thing, I know, but like meeting someone you’ve been emailing and putting a face to a name, it strengthens the connection. Now when I send that email, process a payment or edit their directory listing, I’m able to visualize their place in our community, the place where they belong.


One of my favorite features of the bus is the bike racks.  I bike a lot and use the bike racks frequently. However, the first time I used the bike rack, I was completely confused about how to operate it. I felt like an idiot. I also know I’m not the only one. On a recent ride, I witnessed another first-time bike rack user, equally confused, trying to get his bike on the rack while the bus operator beeped the horn and attempted to make helpful hand signals as to how to operate the rack. Eventually, a passenger got off the bus to assist. Fortunately, operating the bike rack is a lot like riding a bike, once you figure it out, you never forget.

Also, I’m always thinking about what happens when the bike racks are full and more people want to ride with their bikes. This has to happen right? Are those people just out of luck? Is it bad that I am hoping for this to happen every time I ride the bus?

Stay tuned for another blog from Anthony next month!