Silver Line bus rapid transit officially in service

Posted at 12:39 PM, Aug 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-25 12:39:24-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– It promises to be the fastest way to travel in the greater Grand Rapids area. The Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit is officially in service.

For the city that  prides itself on accommodating bicyclists, walkers and those in the ride share program, it’s now boasting about getting commuters around more efficiently.

Grand Rapids is the first city in the state of Michigan to use Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT.

“We are looking toward a future,” said Mayor George Heartwell. “We are not stuck in the past. We are not even stuck in the present. We are looking toward the future.”

That future, is more efficient public transportation.

The Silver Line connects six cities in and around Grand Rapids metro to the Medical Mile and other popular venues via Division Avenue. With designated lanes, and the ability to keep traffic lights green, it’s how transportation officials promise to get commuters from work and home faster.

Officials even believe the 10 year journey leading up to Monday’s ceremonial ride went quickly.

“We got the project right-sized,” explained Peter Varge, CEO for The Rapids. “We had the commitment from the federal government for the project and we really had a good team putting it together.”

The $39 million project was funded mostly by the federal transit administration and finished nearly $4 million under budget.

Other cities who have BRT have created millions of dollars along the bus routes. The Rapid and city officials hope to do the same.

Riders can try out the new Silver Line for free through August 31st.