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Clean Up Your Commute on May 4, 2018

Try a Clean Commute!

Earth Day may be behind us but you can still do your part to improve our earth every day by cleaning up your commute.

On Friday, May 4th, pledge to leave your car at home for Clean Commute Day! This is environmentally-friendly day is  the perfect chance to try out a greener commuting option. Carpool, take the bus, walk or ride your bike and you will make a difference! Clean Commute Day is a regional competition between Greater Lansing, Grand Rapids, Southeast Michigan, and Southwest Michigan. Each region is competing for the title of Michigan’s “Cleanest-Commuting Community.” Help your region win by taking the pledge below. You’ll be entered to win great prizes! Check out the prizes by clicking on the location you commute to, above.

Why You Should Do It

  • Try a new way to get around.
  • Help reduce ozone pollution in your region.
  • Reduce your stress level by commuting with other people.
  • Save money by spending less on gas.
  • Win great prizes like gift cards and ticket vouchers.

Register now to clean up your commute on May 4!

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The Wave Q&A Series: How Will Transfers Work With The Wave?

Wave Transfers

We’re answering your most pressing questions about The Wave! Read more here

Transfers on The Rapid are changing! When you use The Wave, you will no longer need a paper ticket to connect to your other routes.

How will transfers work for Wave users?

Wave users can say goodbye to paper transfers!

With The Wave, you will not need a paper transfer to connect to your other buses. The transfer timeframe is built directly into your Wave card. This means no more waiting for transfers to print or fumbling with them at the farebox.

Transferring with The Wave

Using your Wave card is simple. Just tap every time you board the bus. With your first tap on, you will have access to a paperless transfer timeframe of 1 hour and 45 minutes (105 minutes). This means that you will have 105 minutes of time to ride wherever you’d like—yes, even on the same route. Think of it as paying once to ride an unlimited amount for 105 minutes.

Just check the time on the reader to know when you will be charged for another ride and don’t forget to tap your Wave card every time you board.

Non-Wave Users

If you choose to continue to pay cash fare and not use The Wave, eventually paper transfers will be eliminated. This means you will have to pay a single-ride fare each time you board a bus. This is due to the fact that our fareboxes will eventually not produce any kind of paper output.

Learn more about The Wave by visiting


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May 2018 Route and Service Changes


Route 14 and 50 will be undergoing some changes this May.

Route 50 Bus Stop Changes

Beginning on May 1, 2018, Route 50’s Pew Campus bus stops on Front Street will be changing. There will be two separate bus stops on Front Street—one for each direction of travel.

— Eastbound Route 50 bus stop: A new bus stop sign will be placed just east of the curb cutout this will be the eastbound stop for those riding The Rapid to CHS at Michigan and Lafayette.

— Westbound Route 50 bus stop: The existing bus stop under the expressway at the curb cutout will become the westbound stop where you can ride The Rapid to Allendale/Kirkhof.

Route 50 Routing Adjustment

Route 50 New Routing

Also taking place on May 1, 2018, Route 50 will travel Michigan, left on Coit, right on Hastings and right on Lafayette back to Michigan. This change is in place due to construction taking place this spring near CHS.

The bus will no longer have dwell time by CHS.

Route 14 Routing Change

Route 14 new routing

Beginning on May 7, 2018, Route 14 will no longer travel Michigan to Plymouth. This change is being made to better serve the Oak Industrial Drive area.

The new eastbound routing:

Route 14 buses will travel Lakeside, turn right on Michigan, left on Maryland, left on Oak Industrial, right on Plymouth.

Westbound routing will be the same but in reverse.


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Ride The Rapid to these Transit-Friendly April 2018 Events

Ride The Rapid in April 2018

April is here! Ride with us to these events throughout Grand Rapids and the suburbs.

Zoobilee at the John Ball Zoo

Spend your spring break at John Ball Zoo! From April 2-6, enjoy a week filled with animal demonstrations, games, arts and crafts, and more. View admission prices here.

Route 12 and 50 can get you to John Ball Zoo.

Grand Rapids Coffee Crawl

Calling all coffee lovers! This is the crawl for you. From April 5-8, explore local coffee shops and try different blends of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, all while benefiting the Heartside Gleaning Initiative. General tickets for this event are $15 and just $12 for students. All of the coffee shops are located within our bus service area. Get your ticket here.

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

West Michigan Pet Expo

Do you have animal lovers in your family? Ride Route 9 to the DeltaPlex Arena on April 7-8. The West Michigan Pet Expo will feature pet-related vendors, rescue organizations, pet meet-and-greets and fundraising activities! There will even be live events.

Route 9 can get you a short walk from the DeltaPlex!

8th Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival

The Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival is returning for its eighth season from April 6-8 at Wealthy Theatre. This 3-day festival will feature 9 recent films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay and Venezuela. Many of the films will also feature question-and-answer sessions with directors and a panel discussion with special guests. This festival is free to the public and all films will be presented with English subtitles.

See the film schedule and learn more here.

Route 5 can get you there.

Grand Rapids Film Festival

This festival brings quality entertainment and transformative films to our community! This 3-day celebration kicks off with a signature event featuring short films at The Waldron on Ionia with the following day featuring a variety of films at Wealthy Street and a final day of storytelling about the power of film. Prices vary for each event.

View the full event schedule and learn more here.

Plan your trip!

Art & Chocolate Walk

On April 20, ride The Rapid to Grandville for the Art & Chocolate Walk! This event is a great opportunity to explore Downtown Grandville with more than 20 venues displaying art and chocolate and beverage tasting stations. There will also be musical performances from Grandville Students, chalk artists, swing dancing and more!

There will be $3 Sips & Bits cards available for purchase the night of and the week before at Grandville City Hall.  One card per person = a sample chocolate or beverage at each of the 20 art locations.  $1 from every card purchased goes to the Grandville Education Foundation.

Route 8, 24 and 28 can get you to Grandville!

Earth Day at Blandford Nature Center

On April 21, celebrate Earth Day at Blandford Nature Center from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Ride Route 7 to explore all that Blandford has to offer for free!

Route 7 can get you to the entrance of Blandford Nature Center.

Color of the Year Presented by Pantone and X-Rite at UICA

This Celebrate the innovative exhibition, Color of the Year presented by Pantone and X-Rite, with an opening reception on April 6 at the UICA. Stroll the galleries and explore the works on view inspired by the 2018 PANTONE® Color of the Year, meet and mingle with the artists, and enjoy small bites from Reserve Wine and Food, Mokaya, The Cakabakery and a cash bar. Enjoy music by DJ Romy Glazer and complimentary Ultra Violet-inspired makeup and nails by Coiffeteria Salon. Fresh floral designs by A Growing Frenzy will also be view during the lively event.

This exhibit will run through July.

Routes 1, 4, 14, 13, 14 and 15 can get you to the UICA.

Play, Learn, Explore: Early Childhood Resource Fair

Play, learn and explore on April 28 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.! This free event takes place at Kent Career Technical Center. Bring your children to take part in fun activities, as well as access to many valuable programs, resources and organizations. There will be an onsite signup for free preschool, free vision and hearing screenings for toddlers and a range of early childhood information.

This FREE event includes fun activities for families and children as well as access to many valuable programs, resources, and organizations.

Ride Route 15 to get to the Kent Career Technical Center.

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The Wave Q&A Series: What will Happen to Tickets and Passes?

What will happen to tickets and passes?

Electronic fare payment will be arriving soon. So what does that mean for The Rapid’s current tickets and passes?

What will happen to tickets and passes?

Don’t fret. Tickets and passes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

When we roll out The Wave this spring, there will be no immediate changes to current ticket sales. You will still be able to purchase all ticket types in the same way you currently are now. The Wave will just be another fare payment option available to you!

It’s our hope that when The Wave is fully launched and available to purchase, you will give it a try and enjoy the benefits enough to make it your main fare payment for riding The Rapid!

The Future of Tickets & Passes

It’s our goal to eventually discontinue the sale of paper tickets and passes. We don’t have a set timeline for this but we would not take place until we have fully transitioned the majority of The Rapid’s riders to The Wave e-fare system. And even after the discontinuation of ticket sales, we would still continue to accept tickets onboard buses for a significant period of time.

GO!Bus and PASS tickets will not be impacted by The Wave at this time.


As for paper transfers, these will eventually disappear for those who are not utilizing The Wave. When we move away from tickets and passes, cash fare users will not have access to paper tranfers anymore and will be required to pay a single-ride fare each time they board the bus.

Wave Cardholders will have access to a paperless transfer timeframe of 1 hour and 45 minutes (105 minutes). This means that with one tap of The Wave card, you will have 105 minutes of time to ride wherever you’d like, with unlimited transfers—yes, even on the same route.

As a reminder, some of the benefits of The Wave include balance protection in case you lose your card, auto-load so you’re never stuck without a fare and paying your way one trip at a time.

Learn more about The Wave by visiting

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Bus Driver Appreciation Day: The Rapid’s Bus Operator of the Year Yemny G.


The recipient of The Rapid’s 2018 Bus Operator of the Year Award is an El Salvadoran native who’s made the American dream come true in Grand Rapids.

Yemny Garcia was born in Central America’s smallest country and came to the United States when she was 11 before arriving in Michigan 14 years later. Today, the Grand Rapids mother of three daughters is being recognized with The Rapid’s highest honor for public service on National Bus Driver Appreciation Day.

“The Rapid’s bus operators like Yemny keep our community moving,” said Michael Bulthuis, The Rapid’s Marketing and Communications Manager. “They maneuver through traffic and weather conditions of all kinds to get our riders safely to work, school, appointments, and everything in between. And on top of ensuring the safe and timely arrival of passengers to destinations, they also must check fares, give directions, and ensure that the needs of passengers are met accordingly.

“Let’s be honest, bus operators make multitasking look second nature. And most do it all with a smile – especially Yemny,” Varga said. “I’m proud to say Yemny Garcia epitomizes the hard-work ethic that demonstrates all the qualities we celebrate on National Bus Driver Appreciation Day.”

The Rapid’s annual Bus Operator of the Year Award is based on monthly performance reviews of the Greater Grand Rapids public transportation system’s approximately 300 drivers by supervisory staff in combination with peer driver input. Garcia earned the accolade based on her winning attitude and willingness to help passengers over her 12-year employment record with The Rapid.

Garcia, who praised her mother for inspiring her to pursue a bus driver career in the historically male-dominated public transit operator industry, credited her colleagues and the passengers she greets daily for motivating her to do her best.

“It’s amazing, it’s a privilege,” Garcia said about the award. “To my passengers, thank you for riding The Rapid. Thank you for being part of this community. So, respect us, value us, as we are. And for our drivers, keep on doing the good work every day we go out there.”

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Bus Driver Appreciation Day is March 16, 2018

Bus Driver Appreciation Day 2018

For us, every day is the perfect day to show bus operators our gratitude. However, National Bus Driver Appreciation Day is being celebrated on March 16, 2018!

The Rapid’s Bus Operators keep our community moving. They maneuver through traffic and weather conditions of all kinds to get you safely to work, school, appointments, and everything in between. And on top of ensuring the safe and timely arrival of passengers to destinations, they also must check fares, give directions, and ensure that the needs of passengers are met accordingly. Let’s be honest, bus operators make multitasking look second nature. And most do it all with a smile.

Join us in celebrating Bus Driver Appreciation Day on March 16. This isn’t just a day, it’s a national movement to celebrate our hard-working bus operators. Remember, bus operators don’t have an easy job. They just make it look that way. Please consider going out of your way to show your appreciation for them on Bus Driver Appreciation Day.

In honor of Bus Driver Appreciation Day, we’re hosting a social media contest for our passengers.

Bus Driver Appreciation Day Social Media Contest

Beginning on Thursday, March 15, we’re asking you to post why you’re thankful for your bus driver or share a positive story about your favorite driver with #BDADGR on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Those who post will be entered into a drawing to win a 31-Pass. If the post is made on your own page, the post must be public to be counted in the pass drawing. Please post your gratitude by 12 a.m. on March 18 to be entered to win.

Some other ways to do something nice for your operator:

Print and Sign a Bus Driver Appreciation Day Card

While simply saying thank you can brighten anyone’s day, you might consider doing something extra special for your Rapid bus driver. If you’re looking for something more personal, considering signing and printing the Transit Driver Appreciation Day cards available online to pass out to your favorite bus driver or drivers. Bus Driver Appreciation Day cards will also be available to pick up at Rapid Central Station’s Information Center beginning on Thursday, March 15.

Submit a Compliment to recognize Your Favorite Bus Driver

Commend your favorite bus driver by submitting a General Comment here or through our information line at 616-776-1100. This will be passed along to our Transportation Department and the bus driver will be recognized.

We hope you’ll take this opportunity to make a Rapid Bus Operator’s day a little brighter by showing them your appreciation.

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The Wave Q&A Series: Why E-Fare?

The Wave Q&A

As we approach the launch of The Wave, The Rapid’s new electronic (e-fare) system, we know there are many questions floating around about what the future holds for fares and tickets for The Rapid. As we approach launch in late spring,  one question we have been hearing quite frequently is why The Rapid is making the switch to e-fare and away from paper tickets.

Why is The Rapid switching to The Wave?

  1. 1. We’re Getting with the Times

While The Rapid is the first Michigan public transportation agency to introduce an e-fare system, this type of fare payment system is used throughout the world. Smart cards, mobile ticketing and most recently, fare capping, are becoming the standard way to pay your fare whether you’re riding the bus in Chicago or the London Underground

  1. 2. It’s Faster & Easier

When using The Wave, you will simply need to tap your card to the reader each time you board. This means you will no longer have to fumble with a paper ticket or deal with cash in the farebox. Wave Cardholders will also have access to a paperless transfer timeframe of 1 hour and 45 minutes (105 minutes). This means that with one tap of The Wave card, you will have 105 minutes of time to ride wherever you’d like, with unlimited transfers—yes, even on the same route.

  1. 3. It Will Save Riders Money

When you ride The Rapid using your Wave card, you automatically earn the savings of 1-Day, 7-Day, and 31-Day passes, but without the commitment or the upfront cost. You pay your way one trip at a time, and you’ll never pay for a trip you don’t take. The Wave will give you the best deal on your fare based on how much you ride. It’s a ‘pay-as-you-go’ pass: Earn a 1-Day pass after riding twice in one day (spending $3.50), or a 31-Day pass after spending $47 in a 31-day period.

All you will need to do is keep money on your card.

  1. 4. It’s Better for the Environment

The Rapid currently prints more than 2.5 million paper tickets each year, including an estimated 300,000 transfers that are never used. The Wave e-fare system features a permanent plastic smart card or the option of using the mobile ticketing for your smartphone.

  1. 5. It’s a More Accessible Option

With The Wave, cardholders can add value to their card anywhere through their smartphone or tablet rather than having to find a ticket vending machine or visit Rapid Central Station to buy a ticket. The Wave will also eventually feature a large network of retailers where you can purchase and /or reload a Wave card.  Retailers will include Meijer, Family Fare, Speedway, CVS and other convenience stores.

  1. 6. More Rider Benefits

Unlike a standard ticket, The Wave offers the benefit of account management to register and add value to multiple cards, see your recent trip history, transactions and deactivate/reactivate if lost or stolen. Wave cardholders also have access to the auto-load feature so you don’t even have to plan when and how you will add money to your card.

Learn more about The Wave by visiting

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Transit-Friendly Events in March

Transit-Friendly Events in March 2018

March is a busy month for Grand Rapids. We have Beer Month GR, Laughfest, St. Patrick’s Day and so many events at DeVos Place. There are so many reasons to get out and enjoy all the community has to offer. Beat those winter blues by getting out and riding The Rapid to a variety of events.

Beer Month GR Throughout Grand Rapids

Savor the craft until March 15 with Beer Month GR! Experience Grand Rapids is highlighting our city’s love of craft beer with a month-long celebration. The Rapid to check out local restaurant specials for Cool Brews. Hot Eats., Founders KBS Week tap takeovers and more. There’s something for every beer lover to indulge in during Beer Month GR. Don’t forget your Beer City Brewsader® Passport!

Check out the event list and plan your trip

West Michigan Home and Garden Show at DeVos Place

Love gardening? Prepare for spring at DeVos Place on March 1-4. This season’s show features 14 gardens, 5 free seminar stages and over 350 exhibitors featuring every product and service you’ll need. Single-day and multi-day tickets are available with prices ranging from $10 to $18. Admission for children 6-14 is $4 and children 5 and under get in for free.

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

The Bodyguard at DeVos Performance Hall

From March 6-11, ride to DeVos Performance Hall. The Silver Line can get you just steps away from the front door to see this award-winning musical starring Grammy® Award-nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox! The plot involves a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. A breathtakingly romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a host of irresistible classics including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and one of the biggest selling songs of all time – I Will Always Love You. Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s Oscar-nominated Warner Bros. film and adapted by Academy Award winner (Birdman) Alexander Dinelaris, The Bodyguard had its world premiere in London’s West End where it was nominated for four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical and won Best New Musical at the Whatsonstage Awards.

Get your tickets hereRoutes SL, 11, 13, 50 can get you there.

West Michigan Women’s Expo at DeVos Place

This fun shopping event at DeVos Place is catered to women and their families. From March 9-11, come out for more than 300 exhibits involving health, wellness, beauty, fashion, food, fitness, travel and so much more. Make a girl’s day and grab some friends to join you. This event is for women of all ages. Get your tickets here starting at $10.

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

Waters Extreme Journey at the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Grab your family and take a ride to the Grand Rapids Public Museum throughout March to see experience the watershed as a water drop, exploring first hand the science behind the water cycle. But it’s not all wet and wild – through powerful interactive and local messaging, visitors realize that daily decisions can immediately improve the watershed in their own backyard. This exhibit is included with your general admission. 

Route 7, 9, 19 can get you to GRPM!

My Fair Lady at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

Don’t miss this local production! Eliza Doolittle is a young flower seller with a thick Cockney accent. Professor Henry Higgins is an arrogant upper-class phonetics professor. A boastful wager sets them on a path of discovery that will change both of their lives. One of the most popular musicals of all time featuring Broadway classics: Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, With a Little Bit of Luck, Get Me To the Church on Time, and I Could Have Danced All Night. 

Tickets are $18-37 and can be purchased here.

Ride Route 1, 4, 6, 14, 15 to get to the Civic Theatre.


Join in the laughter from March 8 – 18 throughout Grand Rapids! GIlda’s LaughFest is a community-wide festival of laughter featuring a variety of events celebrating the health of laughter. This year, come out to see big names like Maria Bamford, Mike Birbiglia, Lewis Black and Wayne Brady. Browse the full event list and start planning your trip to a variety of comedy events. 

Various venues throughout West Michigan host events. 

Taste of Kentwood

Leave your car at home and ride with us to indulge in Kentwood’s finest on March 15! Sample food from over fifteen restaurants. You won’t want to miss this evening of food and fun at the City of Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department. Two sessions: 4:30-6:00pm and 6:30-8:00pm. Tickets are $6 in advance or $8 at the door. Kids 5 and under are free.

Route 1 & 44 can get you there.

Irish on Ionia

Grab your green gear and get ready for some St. Patrick’s Day Fun on March 17! Stretching from Fulton to Oakes, and across Weston from Commerce, the event will consume three city-blocks including parking area #3. Travel responsibly and let The Rapid be your designated driver to and from this event.Get your tickets here.

Blandford Nature Center Family Events

Throughout March, ride The Rapid to Blandford Nature Center for a variety of events. There’s the Sugarbush Tour on March 10, 48th Annual Sugarbush Festival on March 24 and the Eggtastic Exploration on March 31! View all of the events here.

Route 7 can get you within walking distance to Blandford Nature Center.

See you on board!

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Federal Funding Secured for the Laker Line

Route 50 Connector

This past Friday, The Federal Transit Administration granted The Rapid $56.4 million to fund the transit authority’s next bus rapid transit line, the Laker Line.

Funding for the 13-mile-long Laker Line from downtown Grand Rapids to Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus was authorized in President Barack Obama’s last budget for fiscal 2017.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland announced Friday that the funding for the Laker Line had been approved.

“The Laker Line will help our community take the next step by providing students at Grand Valley’s Allendale campus with a greater ability to gain hands-on experience in the growing educational, medical, and business fields available in downtown Grand Rapids,” Huizenga said in a statement. “I believe the Laker Line will help connect students and West Michigan residents with greater opportunity, strengthen our workforce, and move our economy forward.”

This federal grant will pay for 80 percent of the $70 million Laker Line project. The rest of the cost will be covered by the Michigan Department of Transportation, which has already allocated the $14 million it pledged. Grand Valley State University will be covering the operational costs of this line.

Station construction will begin this spring and last throughout 2019, with a grand opening of the Laker Line in May 2020.

The Laker Line will offer bus service similar to what The Rapid offers on its existing Route 50. Buses will pick up passengers from stops every five to six minutes at peak time and feature larger buses that can carry more riders, making the route more efficient. The articulated buses have seats for 60 passengers but can carry up to 90  people. The current Route 50 buses seat 40 passengers and can carry up to 60 people.