RAPID (Municpal Area Mass Transit)
The RAPID is the public transportation provider for Grand Rapids and several surrounding communities. The RAPID was created from GRATA in 2001. In the year 2001 GRATA/RAPID carried just over five million passengers. Ridership remain fairly level until 2005 when it began a steady increase and in 2014 ridership is more than twice GRATA's highest count. Not including DASH parking shuttles and other secondary routes the RAPID provides service to 1,615 stops throughout the greater Grand Rapids area.
On-Time Performance (Fiscal 2014): 81.92%
The RAPID provides a travel trainer program to assist user's unfamiliar with the RAPID or use of public transit.
The RAPID reports annual ridership based upon a fiscal year of October 1st - September 30th.
Ridership Per Month
|Year||January||February||March||April||May||June||July||August||September||October||November||December||Total (Fiscal)||Total (Calendar)|
Ridership in January 2019 (2019-01) was significantly impacted by severe weather; schools were closed for several days in the second half of the month and employers, including Spectrum Health, operated on essential personnel only.
Official total ridership tally for fiscal year 2014 was 12,524,500.
Ridership Changes Per Month
|2012 vs 2011||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||+224,079||+82,802||+15,719||-|
|2013 vs 2012||+61,288||+4,235||+18,986||+95,195||+31,473||-46,417||-30,915||+3,909||+98,870||+49,922||-23,193||+15,808||+279,161|
|2014 vs 2013||-124,306||-3,698||+27,074||+6,427||+176||+33,670||+47,621||-17,487||+18,051||+12,777||-83,495||+49,802||-33,388|
|2015 vs 2014||+78,945||-68,463||-21,991||-83,330||+192,445||-24,386||-34,101||-155,951||-132,635||-180,976||-11,483||-10,820||-452,746|
|2016 vs 2015||-133,686||-30,785||-30,159||-21,329||-286,915||-25,398||-125,983||54,987||-64,427||-89,168||+1,584||-75,680||-689,709|
|2017 vs 2016||+15,987||-66,962||-30,620||-61,065||-7,547||-27,922||-25,524||-21,573||-85,245||-64,822||+24,069||-86,460||-473,735|
|2018 vs 2017||-52,536||-85,098||-94,163||+12,991||-12,921||-33,803|
Extreme weather in January 2014 accounted for a significant dip in ridership during that period; this dip can be seen in ridership data of multiple modes on nearly all systems across the nation. During January 2016 GVSU and GRPS were closed four days due to weather; in comparison to 2015 with only one closure.
Ridership reports are currently found at "Reports & Publications".
- Service Changes Coming on August 31, 2015, Get On Board, 2015-08
- Comments Still Being Accepted for Proposed Fare Structure Change, Get On Board, 2015-08
- Removal of Four Pairs of Bus Stops on Route 4, 2015-10
- "Four pairs of bus stops on Route 4 are being removed in a stop dense area to improve schedule adherence along the route."
- New businesses, YMCA, driving request to extend bus service in Cascade Township, MLIVE, 2015-10
- "The Rapid will extend its 28th Street route into Cascade Township beginning as soon as the first of the year."
- Route 28 Will Extend to Cascade Township, The RAPID's BLOG, 2015-10
- The Rapid wins American Public Transportation honors for Creative Excellence, The RAPID's BLOG, 2015-10
- The Rapid reports increased services, success for Silver Line, Rapidian, 2015-12
- Upcoming Routes & Service Changes: Mark Your Calendars for May 9, 2016, RAPID BLOG, 2016-04
- Notice of Public Hearings: Adjustment in Weekday Peak Service, RAPID BLOG, 2016-05
- 20 years after countywide bus service lost by 1 vote, is it time to reconsider?, MLIVE, 2016-06
- Who rides the bus, where they go, MLIVE, 2016-06
- 80% of RAPID riders do not have their own car; 48% of SilverLine riders have their own car
- Typical rider uses the bus five times a week.
- 26% of riders ride the bus to college
- 70% of riders take the bus to work several times a week or more. On the SilverLine 79% of riders take the bus to work several times a week or more.
- 47% of riders are White, 37% are Black, 13% are Hispanic or Latino
- 58% of riders use the bus to go shopping at least once a week; 42% for SilverLine riders.
- 25% of riders use the bus to get to medical services at least once a month.
- More than 50% use the bus to go to social, religious, or personal events.
- 5 years after nail-biter bus tax vote, are you ready for another?, MLIVE, 2016-06
- How many hundred thousand bus rides The Rapid is down since 16-percent fare hike, MLIVE, 2016-06
- DASH AND SILVER LINE ENHANCE ROUTES TO BETTER SERVE CUSTOMERS, RAPID BLOG, 2016-06
Wheels to Work program is rolled out in Walker, GRBJ, 2016-07
While The Rapid operates in Walker, its service route does not extend down the Three Mile corridor, where many manufacturing facilities are located. “The industrial corridor in Walker has continued to grow and expand jobs, and without public transit in that area, it’s been a problem,” said Walker Mayor Mark Huizenga. “The Rapid is conducting a viability study right now, but it will take some time. This project doesn’t replace it; it fills in the gap.”
- DASH consolidates routes to step up frequency of runs, GRBJ, 2016-08
- Route & Service Changes Coming on Aug. 29, 2016, RAPID BLOG, 2016-08
- AN AFTERNOON AT RAPID CENTRAL STATION, RAPID BLOG, 2016-08
- More than 9,000 people travel through Grand Rapids Central Station on an average day.
- Changes Coming to DASH Shuttle Service & Silver Line on Sept. 1, 2016, RAPID BLOG, 2016-08
- Parking rate spike hits this week, Silver Line bus rides free, MLIVE, 2016-08
How downtown rate hike impacts these 4 kinds of parkers, MLIVE, 2016-08
The lowest monthly parking price in city facilities currently is $27, but that will bump to $48 in order to get more expensive than the cost of a 31-day Rapid bus pass.
Grand Rapids making transit and parking changes, FOX17, 2016-08
- Bus fares cheaper for Grand Rapids commuters to Ferris State, MLIVE, 2017-05
- Catch The Wave and ride The Rapid: a faster, easier and more convenient way to ride, RapidGrowth, 2017-07
- You’re Invited: The Rapid & Mobile GR Unveil Largest Fleet of CNG buses in Michigan, RAPID BLOG, 2017-07
- Introducing The Wave: The Rapid’s New E-Fare System, RAPID BLOG, 2017-07
- Grand Rapids aims for state's largest fleet of green buses, MLIVE, 2017-07
- The Rapid and City of Grand Rapids rolling out Michigan’s largest fleet of CNG buses, RAPID BLOG, 2017-07
- The Silver Line: More than a Name, 2017-10
- The RAPID is considering selling the naming rights of the Silver Line, a common practice for transit agencies.
- Rapid bus tax passes despite union contract dispute, MLIVE, 2017-11
- 22,146 vs. 13,937 (a win by 8,209 and 5 of 6 cities)
Defining Division: Transforming the future of transportation is equitable mobility, Rapid Growth Media, 2018-02-08
“If the public would like to see more service improvements in the future (e.g. increased frequency to 15 minutes on all routes, running later on weekends, etc.), this will require a ballot request to increase the property tax millage for additional funding,” says Bulthuis.
Laker Line funding gets federal go-ahead, MLIVE, 2018-02-09
- DASH bus routes to get makeover as city seeks more riders, MLIVE, 2018-03-09
- CNG Fueling Station project received an #Engineering Merit Award from ACECMI, ACEC of MI, 2018-03
- Downtown DASH expanding hours, MLIVE, 2018-08
- The City of Grand Rapids DASH offers expanded service hours and routes, RAPID BLOG, 2018-08
- The Rapid bus service launching electronic fare system, MLIVE, 2018-08
- Riding 'The Wave': Rapid rolls out e-pay option Tuesday, WOOD TV-8, 2018-08
- Say Hello To Faster, Easier Fare Payment With The Wave, RAPID BLOG, 2018-08
- The Rapid's new e-fare system The Wave debuts August 14, Rapidian, 2018-08
- Rapid bus service launches free rides on Michigan Street corridor, MLIVE, 2018-08
- Grand Rapids leaders celebrate kickoff of fare-free Route 19 bus service along Michigan Street, RAPID BLOG, 2018-08
- First look at driverless shuttle coming to Grand Rapids in 2019, MLIVE, 2018-09
- Grand Rapids rolling out autonomous shuttles, GRBJ, 2018-09
- $696,000 federal grant to help spur economic development along The Rapid’s Silver Line route, RAPID BLOG, 2018-12
The Rapid awarded $373,782 Michigan Mobility grant, MDOT, 2019-01
... a project called the Team Grand Rapids: Interurban Transit Partnership was awarded a $373,782 Michigan Mobility grant for utilizing a dynamic rideshare app for paratransit bus services in Grand Rapids. ... The project team consisting of The Rapid, the City of Grand Rapids, Disability Advocates of Kent County, and Via will use the grant to improve rider experience by shortening trip duration and reservation lead time. This will allow booking trips the same day and mean users spend less time on the bus.
Grand Rapids bus stops getting $1.5M makeover, GRBJ, 2019-01-18
The DDA recently approved funding of $500,000 for up to 50 shelters in the downtown core. Additionally, $250,000 from The Rapid and $750,000 from Mobile GR will offer funding for improvement of up to 70 more shelters outside of downtown.
Time-line of RAPID improvements (since 2010)
- January 2012: Extended weekday hours of operation until 11:15 or 12:15 on the busiest routes.
- January 2012: Extended Saturday operation until 10:00pm on Saturdays.
- January 2012: Regular frequency improved on busiest rounds to a minimum of every 30 minutes.
- August 2012: Six routes improved to a minimum frequency of 15 minutes during peak hours.
- August 2012: Creation of the new fixed-route RAPID#19 [weekday only] servicing Michigan St and Fuller to Hall St.
- August 2014: The launch of the SilverLine BRT.
- Fall 2014: Availability of real time stop information and integration with mobile transit applications such as TransitApp.
- January 2016: Extension of route 28 into Cascade
- May 2016: Additional trip added to RAPID#5 and RAPID#17. Additional trip on RAPID#17 is an express to the Gerald R. Ford International airport.
- September 2016:
- DASH lines consolidate to two routes with consistent hours-of-operation and 7-8 minute headways.
- SilverLine now fareless within the park-once downtown zone
- The cheapest monthly parking pass is now finally more expensive than a 31 day transit pass.
- RAPID#19 converts to a rush-hour crosstown connector on the Michigan St. corridor.
- August 2017: Routing changes to RAPID#15, RAPID#37, & RAPID#48.
- November 2018 - WAVE pilot test begins.
- June 2018: Enhanced RAPID#19 service will begin in August, 2018
- August 2018:
- WAVE electronic fare payment system goes live (Tuesday, August 14th)
- DASH gets weekend and late-night service.
- Weekday frequent & fair-free RAPID#19 Michigan St / Bridge St. Crosstown launches.
The COVID19 pandemic of 2020 rolled back or cancelled many of the aforementioned gains. These loses included the cancellation of RAPID#19 (Michigan St / Bridge St crosstown), reduction of DASH service (no more late-night or Sunday service), and overall reduced hours of operation.