GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Drivers who disrupt the new Silver Line rapid bus transit service could face hefty fines.
The Rapids’ Silver Line route will begin in metro Grand Rapids on Aug. 25. The buses will run up Division Avenue in Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids, then loop around to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, the Medical Mile, DeVos Place and The Rapid Central Station.
During weekday rush hours between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and again between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., the buses will have dedicated lanes. The right lanes on Division between 44th and Wealthy streets and on Monroe Avenue between Michigan and Fulton streets will be closed to other traffic, except for vehicles turning right and to prevent backups at a few large intersections.
The goal is to keep traffic out of the way so the Silver Line can run more quickly.
“That’ll work. It’ll get people back and forth faster. I think it’ll work,” bus passenger Ramone Robinson said.
“I think it’s a good deal. Keep people in one lane, let the bus run. Buses hold up people all the time, so to have that lane open all the time for buses will shorten your travel time,” driver Ray Perkins agreed.
Street signs will have instructions about when the lanes are reserved for buses.
In Wyoming, driving in the Silver Line lane could land motorists with a $110 ticket and two points on their license.
In Grand Rapids, court officials revised its plans for drivers who violate the bus only lanes. Originally, drivers were going to be fined $135 and receive three points on their license, but now drivers will be issued an impeding traffic violation resulting in a $118 and zero points on their license.
Authorities say it will be up to officers to decide whether to give people warnings at first rather than citations.
Silver Line passengers will buy their tickets at kiosks located at bus stops. There will be fare evasion enforcers on buses to make sure people aren’t getting free rides.
In Wyoming, people who try to skip out on paying their fare could be slapped with a municipal civil infraction. The first offense would result in a $65 fine, the second offense in a $130 fine, and a $250 fine for every subsequent offense.
Kentwood is also still working to finalize its penalties. City officials said they wanted the penalties to coincide with Wyoming’s and Grand Rapids’ fees.