Government and Travel & Tourism

The Rapid picks up national award for public transit

September 11, 2013
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The Rapid’s operations are overseen by a 15-member board of directors that represents the transit authority’s six member cities and service area. Photo via fb.com

For the second time in its brief history, the area’s bus service has won a distinguished national honor.

The American Public Transportation Association officially named The Rapid the Outstanding Mid-Sized Transportation System in the United States at a special ceremony Tuesday at The Rapid Central Station.

The Rapid previously won the Outstanding System award in 2004.

Model transportation

APTA officials said they chose the local transit system, because of its ridership growth, operational efficiency, financial stability and the technological innovation it has incorporated into the service and at its station.

“Mid-sized” systems

There are 77 mid-sized transit systems in the nation that are eligible to apply for the award, according to The Rapid’s External Relations Manager Jennifer Kalczuk.

A mid-sized system is defined by the APTA as one that provides between four million and 20 million rides a year.

The Rapid provided 11.9 million rides in 2012 to set an all-time high for the metro area.

The Rapid serves Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Walker and Wyoming as part of the Interurban Transit Partnership.

Civic affair

The award event was attended by more than 100 people, including APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy and APTA Chairman Flora Castillo.

Other dignitaries at the ceremony included Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, Walker Mayor Barb Holt and Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. Holt also chairs The Rapid Board of Directors.

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