Rapid buses extend hours for night workers downtown

GVL / Dylan Graham
The Grand Valley Rapid bus schedule has been expanded for the Winter 2012 semester

Dylan Graham

GVL / Dylan Graham The Grand Valley Rapid bus schedule has been expanded for the Winter 2012 semester

Samantha Belcher

The Rapid bus system is extending its downtown busing schedule to accommodate late night workers after receiving several requests from frequent riders.

The new hours, which started on Jan. 9, extend the schedule on seven of the bus routes until 11:15 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 10 p.m. on Saturday.

“I work at a party store, so the longer hours will be much more convenient for me when I work late at night,” said freshman Alexa Vaught.

For Grand Valley State University’s Route 50, the primary change is a scheduled stop at the Rapid Central Station on weekdays between 6:45 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.

Jennifer Kalczuk, spokeswoman for The Rapid, said the changes were made possible by a millage passed by The Rapid Board in May 2011, which increased The Rapid’s funds to initiate projects laid out in its 20-year Transit Mission Plan to improve the bussing system. The extension of bus hours comes at no cost to the university.

“(The extension) provides easier access to the entire Rapid network,” said Mark Rambo, operations manager for Pew Campus Operations.

Rambo said The Rapid is also adding a new bus to the cycle so riders’ schedules will not conflict with the new hours.

“We want to keep that same frequency,” he said.

Informational panels will be placed at stops around the metropolitan Grand Rapids area so that riders can check the new bussing schedules and give feedback to The Rapid.

Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid, said in a press release that these changes are some of the first steps in completing The Rapid’s 20-year transit mission plan, which was adopted in June 2010 and was largely based on input from the public.

The plan also includes the creation of the Silver Line, a bus rapid transit system that is expected to be completed in 2014. The Silver Line will run along Division Avenue in Grand Rapids and will allow riders to get to their destinations faster and with more convenience.

Due to an increase in riders, another BRT line, called the Laker Line, is currently being planned to replace the Route 50.

The Rapid announced that additional route changes will take effect August 2012.

For more information on The Rapid schedules and hours, visit www.ridetherapid.org.

To view the GVSU bus schedule, visit www.gvsu.edu/bus.

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