GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) – The Rapid's Silver Line, the first hybrid-electric bus line in the state of Michigan, launched Monday morning.
At ceremonies at Rapid Central Station, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell told WZZM 13, "I think this is important today for symbolic reasons - what this says is this city, this partnership of cities that we know as the Rapid, is very progressive; we're the first in the state of Michigan to have bus rapid transit. We are looking toward the future - we're not stuck in the past; we're not even stuck in the present - we are looking toward the future, and this an exciting day."
The ten-bus fleet will feature free Wi-Fi, quicker transit times, updated waiting stations, and a fare card validator at every station, to make the boarding process more efficient.
Stretching more than nine miles, the route will connect Kentwood and Wyoming with downtown Grand Rapids. The $39 million dollar project is expected to bring economic growth to the downtown corridor, as well.
Silver Line buses will have free fare to all commuters using the route during the first week. Officials told WZZM 13 they will have people at almost all the stations all week to introduce commuters to the city's newest transit system.
During peak rush hours, designated lanes will be restricted to bus-only use, and vehicles making immediate rights, to ensure more efficient transit times.