Rapid: Violent incidents shouldn’t cause alarm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A day after a third high-profile violent incident involving a Rapid bus this year, Rapid officials say the public should not have safety concerns about riding the city buses.

“We had 12.5 million rides last year and on any given school day we have between 8,000 and 9,000 people transfer just through Central Station alone,” Rapid spokesperson Jennifer Kalczuk said. “We transport thousands of people safely every day.”

A Rapid bus. (May 12, 2015)
A Rapid bus. (May 12, 2015)

She says because of the volume, violent incidents are bound to occur despite The Rapid’s best efforts to maintain a safe environment.

“Our highest priority is the safe transport of our passengers and the safety of our employees,” Kalczuk said.

Kalczuk pointed to the bus system’s sophisticated camera system and relationships cultivated between The Rapid and law enforcement, including the Transportation Security Administration.

Cameras on the bus have captured three serious incidents that made news this year. Earlier this year, windows were shattered when someone fired a BB gun at a bus.

More recently, a Rapid bus driver was captured engaging in a physical altercation with a student. She now faces criminal charges, to which she pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

Monday, a man was abruptly stabbed in the neck by an exiting passenger. Kalczuk said The Rapid promptly provided video of the incident to Grand Rapids police.

“The video helped identify him and helped lead to his arrest,” Kalczuk said.

The suspect in the stabbing incident was scheduled to be formally charged Wednesday.

Rapid officials want the public to trust that the buses are safe.

Evidence of Kalczuk’s belief in the system: “I continue to ride the bus,” she said with a smile.



The Rapid

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