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Monday, March 14, 2016

Silver Line - Riding the Rapid in Grand Rapids, Michigan

March 2016, Weekday afternoon - evening

the sun setting downtown Grand Rapids
We wanted to visit a few of the breweries in downtown Grand Rapids without having to drive or look for a parking spot, so we rode The Rapid Silver Line downtown.

Buying tickets

We purchased our tickets from a kiosk at the bus stop on Division near 60th Street. Tickets can be purchased with cash or a credit card. The process was fairly easy with a few minor inconveniences. The sun was very bright the afternoon of our trip, and there was no shade cover over the screen, which made it difficult to read. The touch screen did not respond as expected; we had to touch most of the buttons more than once. A receipt was not printed, even though I chose the selection to receive a receipt. And, we had to purchase each ticket individually. I do not understand why more systems are not set up to allow travelers to purchase more than one ticket at a time. When we rode the Light Rail from the Seattle airport to downtown, we were able to purchase two tickets at once, and the process was super easy. It is possible to purchase more than one ticket at the kiosks in Chicago, also.

We each purchased an all-day pass for $3.50 because the cost for a one-way ticket was $1.75.

bus pulling away from Mercy Health stop
stop at Monroe/Louis












Riding the Silver Line

A bus arrives around every half hour, and the arrival times are posted on a board at the bus stop. Our ride from the 60th Street bus stop to the Mercy Health Station took about 22 minutes. Our trip back from the Monroe/Louis stop (near The Bob) took a bit longer. The bus was comfortable and clean. We felt safe, and the ride was efficient. 

seats inside the bus

Overall

We all thought riding the Silver Line was great! I heard that the cost to ride used to be only $1 one-way until they started losing money because many passengers were not paying. I do not have any facts to substantiate that, although I did observe activity that appeared this could be true. If the loss was from non-paying riders, it is too bad they did not realize and correct this, rather than raising the cost for paying passengers. 

There was not anyone on our bus checking tickets when we boarded. After about five stops, an employee boarded and then checked all our tickets. Some passengers had gotten off before this. After a couple more stops, we observed a man at a stop who did not board after he saw there was an employee onboard to check tickets. He stepped over to the kiosk as if to purchase a ticket when the bus pulled away. We did not observe anyone on the bus checking tickets when we rode the bus back at the end of the day.

I have used public transportation in many states, and I think The Rapid website with maps and route information is one of the easiest to decipher.

If you find this information useful, please share it for others!

photo of my Rapid pass atop the shirts we received after our brewery visits