The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Winter weather wreaks havoc on The Rapid’s routine

GVL / Trenton Estrada

Grand Valley State University’s Transportation Services consists of a bus system that is commonly used by students. Whether students use the buses to get to and from their off-campus apartments to the Allendale campus, or to travel between the Allendale and Pew campuses, many students depend on the buses daily.

There are four different bus lines that service GVSU: the Laker Line that travels between the Allendale and Pew campuses, the 48 line (the South Campus apartment shuttle), the 37 (the North Campus apartment shuttle) and the 85 for weekend service. 

Recent winter storms brought severe weather and high snowfall across Michigan. In lieu of the 11-19 inches of snow Allendale and surrounding areas received, GVSU’s Rapid buses experienced difficulties and unpredictable situations on the roads.

Clare Meteer, a GVSU senior who uses the Rapid buses daily, had multiple scary experiences on the buses as a result of the inclement weather.

GVL / Trenton Estrada

On Jan. 10, the 48 bus that Meteer rode got stuck in the snow at the four-way stop at the intersection of Pierce Street and 42nd Street. Meteer said the bus was fishtailing as the driver attempted to continue moving forward towards campus. She said this is not the only time this has happened at this intersection.

“I don’t know if he (the bus driver) had to pull off the side a little bit to get close to the sidewalk and got stuck in the snow, but he was like, flooring it and the bus was not going anywhere and just kind of fishtailing in place,” Meteer said.

On Jan. 16, Meteer rode the 48 bus line to campus to get to her on-campus job at Mary Idema Pew Library for her opening shift. When the bus turned left to make its stop into Lot J, a parking lot on the Allendale campus, around 7 a.m., Meteer said the bus spun out on the ice and nearly slid into a plow truck. 

“We were turning into the J-lot stop and the bus, like, lost control and the back of the bus started rotating,” Meteer said. “The driver was swearing, letting us know that he was scared and that made me scared because I’m like, okay, he obviously doesn’t have any confidence, so I was just kind of panicked.”

While not on the bus at the time, Meteer also said she heard about the 85 bus getting stuck at the GVSU Greek housing bus stop. A picture of the stuck bus circulated on the app Yik Yak, a social media platform in which users within a five-mile radius can share posts anonymously.

Courtesy / Barstool GVSU

“(The bus) was like up on the sidewalk and the tow truck had to come to get it off the sidewalk,” Meteer said.

Additionally, Meteer takes the Laker Line to get to and from her class downtown at the Pew campus. Meteer said on Tuesday, Jan. 16, she could feel how the ice and snow were impacting the safety of the drive. 

“One or two stops after the Meijer stop, we ended up behind another Laker Line,” Meteer said. “It was snowing and the roads were not super great. Every time we would come to a stop– I think because the snow was built up along the platform, (the bus) would shake really bad.”

The GVSU Bus System Instagram account, @gvsubus, posts updates and comments about GVSU’s bus system. On Jan. 16 the account posted about a detour alert for the Rapid buses due to the winter storms. 

“Due to icy conditions, Eastbound Laker Line will be detouring again today in GR: Monroe; stay straight on Monroe to Leonard (R) Leonard (R) College (R) Michigan; to service Lafayette station to regular route westbound. The EB Spectrum Health Platform at Michigan/Bostwick will not be serviced,” said @gvsubus in the post. 

The account has also been posting rider safety tips to aid student riders, as the buses have no choice but to run throughout the winter season. 

However, even with the social media updates from the GVSU Bus System Instagram account, apps that students usually rely on for bus arrival times and to track buses, like myStop or Transit, were not consistent or updated.

“The roads were too bad to drive, so I had to take the bus to my downtown job. I left an hour before my shift and was 45 minutes late, said Ellie Kerber, a GVSU senior. “The Rapid didn’t come for nearly an hour, but the app was still saying it was coming every five minutes like normal, so I was out waiting for the bus in sub-zero temperatures with no way to find out why the bus wasn’t coming.”

GVL / Trenton Estrada

GVSU issues GVSUAlerts! to put the university on “remote status” when road and weather conditions are deemed too dangerous for the campus community. However, winter weather conditions continue to pose challenges, even when the weather conditions are not deemed severe enough for classes to be held remotely.

In order to allieviate problems caused by weather to the bus system, the Ride the Rapid website posts rider tools and has a Rapid Alert Guide to notify riders of line changes and delays.

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