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Starting Saturday, the Rapid implement fare changes

Starting Saturday, Aug. 1, there will no longer be a "fare free zone" in downtown Grand Rapids.
Credit: WZZM
A Rapid bus crosses the intersection of Grandville Ave. and Cherry St.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Starting Saturday, Aug. 1, the Rapid announced changes to the fare payments and the elimination a "fare free zone" downtown Grand Rapids.

The changes include:

  • Eliminating free transfers for riders paying cash.
  • Eliminating of charge cards for riders paying cash, but without exact change.
  • Eliminating the fare free zone on the Silver Line, which goes north of Wealthy Street.
  • Eliminating the fare free service on Route 19/Michigan Crosstown, which is currently not in service.

The Rapid said the cost to ride the bus is not changing and cash fare will always be accepted as a form of payment. 

The changes mean cash-paying customers will no longer receive a charge card if they board without exact change, and they will no longer have the option of free transfers. However, Wave card users can utilize unlimited transfers for 1 hour and 45 minutes after boarding. 

GO!Bus paratransit service is unaffected by these changes, the press release explained. 

The elimination of the fare free zone on the Silver Line in downtown Grand Rapids means that riders will have to pay a valid fare to ride the Silver Line on the entire route. Riders were previously allowed to ride the Silver Line north of Wealthy Street for free. 

The elimination of fare free service on Route 19/Michigan Crosstown means that riders will have to pay a regular fare on Route 19 if and when it returns to service. Riders were previously allowed to ride Route 19 for free.

The Wave card, the Rapid’s e-fare payment system, is available for purchase and reload at Central Station, Walgreens stores, Speedway stations, and many other retail stores around Greater Grand Rapids. 

Find a full list of retail locations here. Purchasing and using a Wave card does not require a credit or debit card, or internet access.

The Rapid's COVID-19 safety precautions are still in place on all buses, including enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, and requiring riders to wear a mask while waiting for and riding buses. 

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