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The Rapid Goes Green
The Rapid will introduce five hybrid-electric buses into its fleet this year, two in the spring and three more in the fall. The new 40-foot, low-floor hybrid electric buses are considered the next generation of cleaner, more efficient buses. They'll have two sources of power under their hoods — an internal combustion engine and electric motor. The engine charges the electric motor's batteries, which, in turn, reduce the load on the engine.
Jennifer Kalczuk, spokesperson for The Rapid, said staff will examine how the hybrids operate under different circumstances, in different seasons and in different types of service scenarios, and will collect and track data on fuel savings along the way. If the vehicles perform as expected, additional hybrids will be purchased.
"We're going to try the first two buses in two separate service environments, one of them most likely being the
The Rapid also offers a couple of share-a-ride options that help reduce overall emissions in the region. Its RapidVan program is available to commuters headed into Kent, Allegan and
"Some of the manufacturing sites that have closed or consolidated some of their locations gave their employees the choice of moving to a different plant location. Obviously, many of them wanted to stay, but that meant they had a much longer commute than they did previously."
RapidVan was actually developed in response to employers' needs at a time when
"We re-evaluated price and some other items and came back last year with a slightly altered version of the original program, and that's when it really started to take off," Ferris-Young recalled. "We have 11 vanpools that serve GM employees, and most of them have been relocated from either
GreenRide, introduced a little more than a year ago, is a software application that helps residents of
Ride matching was previously a long and involved process that was carried out by mail. GreenRide software significantly streamlined it, giving people immediate feedback in their quest for carpool partners. GreenRide and the RapidVan program were recently linked together on The Rapid Web site, so people can check out both carpool opportunities and vanpool accessibility in their area at the same time, Ferris-Young added.