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The Rapid planning e-fare system

April 21, 2017
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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

The Rapid has announced plans to implement a new e-fare system.

The public transit operator said the system should be ready in early 2018 and consist of smart cards and mobile ticketing.

Riders boarding a bus would tap their smart card or scan their mobile ticketing smartphone app as they board the bus to pay the fare.

Riders would purchase fares or add funds to their e-fare account by visiting the e-fare website online via smartphone or desktop, at ticket vending machines or at the Information Center at Rapid Central Station.

The e-fare account would be linked to their smart card or mobile ticketing smartphone app.

There would also be a retail network where smart cards would be sold at a variety of locations throughout The Rapids service area, including supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies.  

The Rapid said its new e-fare system would make riding public transit in Grand Rapids “faster, easier and more convenient.”

The Rapid is taking public comments at various meetings around the city through April 27 to discuss the e-fare system and other proposed changes, including changes to the current fare structure to accommodate the new e-fare technology.

The Rapid said the proposed changes would not include a fare increase.

Proposed changes

  • Elimination of 10-ride tickets
  • Implementation of a pay-as-you-go way to purchase a pass
  • Implementation of more convenient, re-loadable account options through e-fare
  • Elimination of the sale of tickets on the bus
  • Implementation of new 90-minute, paper-free transfer timeframe with e-fare
  • Elimination of paper transfers with cash fare
  • Discontinuation of change cards

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