Silver Line serves students, hospital workers

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The new Silver Line buses have been on the road for four days now and 24 Hour News 8 wanted to know who’s riding them.

A little after 11 a.m. Thursday, riders were hanging from the straps on a Silver Line bus. It wasn’t even rush hour and the seats were filled. The bus runs between Grand Rapids and 60th Street, along the Division Avenue corridor.

A big park-and-ride lot has been built at 60th Street. 24 Hour News 8 counted a 100 cars at the parking lot Thursday morning.

A lot of the riders were college students like Alex Burnham, taking the bus downtown.

“It’s a lot cheaper to drive here than driving back and forth downtown. I have class four out of seven days a week. It’s a lot cheaper and it’s environmentally safe,” Burnham said.

Silver Line employees told 24 Hour News 8 the park-and-ride is drawing downtown workers too, especially from the hospitals. The line was designed with stops at both colleges and hospitals.

James VanVuren lives in Grandville and was riding the Silver Line for fun. Some other people were heading downtown just to see what’s going on, too.

“I’m a tourist today, VanVuren said. “I got the whole day to myself. My wife’s turned me loose. Going to eat downtown, see what’s going on. Rosa Parks Circle. Maybe walk over to the river.”

Martin Clouse lives near the end of the Silver Line around 60th Street. He goes to school downtown and has been riding the regular Rapid buses. He said the Silver Line is living up to it’s billing as rapid transit. He said the regular buses take longer to load because people are always fumbling for change at the door.

The Silver Line eliminates that bottle neck — riders pay before they board.

“You can get whatever pass you need and you can get on the bus and you’re gone. The stops here are a lot quicker even though you’re loading more people which helps the time and there isn’t as many stops,” Clouse said.

There aren’t any actual passenger numbers from the Rapid. And Silver Line rides are free this week.

So the real test will be after people have to pay the $1.50 to ride.

24 Hour News 8 will be checking back to see how it goes.


On the web:

The Rapid – Silver Line

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