Recommendations for riding The Rapid

Walking in a winter wonderland is difficult when wind chills are below zero. Here are some tips for riding The Rapid, whether you are going from Kirkhof to Mackinac, from Allendale to Grand Rapids or from an off-campus apartment to campus. The bus is free for all GVSU students, faculty and staff with a valid I.D. This will also get you onto any of The Rapid’s buses in downtown Grand Rapids.

  • Be courteous: It can be stressful trying to find a spot to sit or stand. If the bus is crowded, try to walk all the way to the back and avoid saving a seat for your backpack to make more space available for others. Keep your eye out for someone who might need a seat more than you do. Another piece of advice: avoid talking on the phone loudly. Chances are, fellow riders will not want to hear all about your latest problems and concerns.
  • Be safe: Riders should stay seated until they reach their destination. However, if the bus is crowded and standing is necessary, remember to hold onto either the overhead strap or the bars to the side. Balance will save you from falling on a stranger and creating an awkward situation. Be aware of your surroundings while waiting and riding the bus. If you feel uncomfortable, sit up front behind the bus driver.
  • Be timely: It is important to hop on the bus early during peak times so that you are not late for an important appointment. The peak times for Monday through Thursday are 9 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Fridays are busy around 9 a.m. and noon, generally tapering off as it gets later in the afternoon.
  • Be knowledgeable: Plan your route ahead of time so that you know when to pull the cord to signal to the driver that you will be exiting at the next stop. Don’t be afraid to ask the driver any questions relating to the route. Learn the bus schedule so that you don’t have to wait outside in the cold for longer than necessary. The buses run every six minutes on weekdays and about every hour on weekends. Check for more specific times.
  • Be careful: When you get ready to exit, remember to gather all of your personal items and winter accessories if you took them off during the ride. Left something behind? All forgotten items are kept at Central Station. You can call The Rapid Lost and Found at (616) 776-1100 anytime Monday through Friday between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Environmental and economic reasons to ride The Rapid

  • Public transportation can save the U.S. 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline every year, reducing dependence on oil.
  • The Rapid saves the GVSU community over 2 million rides, 20 million vehicle miles and $11 million in vehicle operating costs.
  • Park and Ride: GVSU students, faculty and staff can park in marked areas and ride the bus to campus for free. The Standale Meijer and the Walker Fire Station have parking designated for this purpose. However, it is best to avoid overnight parking, as the vehicle may be ticketed or towed. This can help save gas money, avoid purchasing a parking pass and reduce emissions.
  • The Rapid has five hybrid-electric buses operating with green roofs to protect the environment by burning less fuel and emitting fewer pollutants into the air. The Rapid also uses ultra-low sulfur diesel, which emits 90 percent less pollutants than before.
  • The buses feature a battery-powered electric motor that provides most of the power at slower speeds and a smaller clean diesel engine that takes over at higher speeds.

Looking to buy more than just groceries? Here are directions to the Rivertown Crossings Mall:
1. Board the GVSU Campus Connector (Route 50) at either Mackinac Hall or the Kirkhof Center on the Allendale Campus or at the Pew Campus (stops at Seward Ramp and between Eberhard and DeVos centers).
2. Exit the bus at Central Station and board the Grandville/Rivertown Crossings (Route 8) bus.
3. Exit the bus at the stop located at Rivertown Crossings.

There’s an app for that

Want to know exactly when the bus will arrive? Search for The Rapid bus routes on the MyStop app (iPhone only) or the Transit App (iPhone or Android). Don’t have a smartphone? Check The Rapid Connect website ( on your computer’s internet browser before heading to the bus stop.

Rapid Statistics

Fiscal Year 2014

Total Riders: 2.9 million

Route 50: 1.4 million

Route 50 riders per day: 9,866 students (average) with 14 buses on the 24-mile loop

Route 37: 525,435

Route 48: 753,234

Route 51: 222,085