The Rapid

Rapid Silver Line bus

Members of the American Public Transportation Association are in Washington this week. That includes the CEO of Grand Rapids’ Interurban Transit Partnership. Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid is speaking to Congress on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association.

APTA says the Trump Administration is proposing deep cuts to public transportation funding to help fund its proposed $200 billion infrastructure initiative. Varga is making the case investing in public transit supports economic growth and creates jobs.

The Laker Line has officially been given the green light with the approval of government funding. The Laker Line operating primarily along Lake Michigan Drive (M-45) will replace The Rapid’s Route 50 with bus rapid transit between Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus and downtown Grand Rapids Pew Campus – and – the Cooke Devos Center for Health Sciences along the Medical Mile.

WGVU spoke with the U.S. Representative who helped secure its funding.

“We think this is a justifiable expense that will really benefit the community.”

Rapid central station.
Hilary Farrell

Continued friction between Rapid officials and its local union raises concerns among some riders.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Wikimedia | Grguy2011

It’s going to cost more to park in Grand Rapids, but it may cost less to get around.

Across-the-board parking fee increases and expanded, free transit services kicked off Thursday across areas of downtown Grand Rapids.

Increases include short and long-term parking at city-owned lots and meters, as well as special event parking opportunities. Monthly passes jumped at all city lots.

The lowest monthly rates are $48 and include DASH West areas.

Rapid bus

Two proposed pilot programs would make Rapid transit tickets more cost-effective for certain agencies and students.

If approved, the proposals create lower-cost options for non-profits serving homeless or low-income clients, and semester bus passes for students and staff at Grand Rapids Community College.

The move for reduced-cost fares is meant to lessen the financial burden for agencies that purchase rides for clients, and follows across-the-board increases approved by Rapid leadership earlier this year.

Rapid transit employees address Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday, August 23.
Hilary Farrell

Monthly healthcare premiums for Rapid union employees are set to increase hundreds of dollars beginning October 1, under a state law regarding expired union contracts.

The increased premiums start at $238.23 a month for a single high-deductible HSA and rise to $886.99 a month for a family PPO, according to paperwork provided to WGVU. A similar family plan currently costs about $218 a month, according to employees.

The Rapid

Aug 22, 2016
Rapid Silver Line bus

We talk interurban transportation: Mobile GR and the new Park Once downtown district.  Our guests are Joshua Naramore and Mike Nowlin.

Hilary Farrell

Rapid union employees have now gone close to a year without a new contract.

The contract for members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 836, which represents Rapid union employees, was set to expire a year ago last June. After a two-month extension was granted, it officially expired at the end of August.

Since then, multiple demonstrations and legal action against the Rapid have occurred, but no proposals have come before the board for public vote.

Rapid Silver Line bus

Grand Rapids officials are laying the groundwork for a larger, multi-modal transportation future. Part of that work involves extending available mass transit options. 

Grand Rapids mobility manager Josh Naramore tells WGVU more about a proposed free Silver Line pilot program, and how that fits into city transportation goals.

The Rapid

May 16, 2016
Rapid Silver Line bus

Monthly we talk about transportation with guests from the Rapid. Today, Bill Kirk and Michael Bulthuis talk about the Open Streets event this weekend, hosted by DGRI.