This fall, Ferris State University is collaborating with The Rapid to launch a new service that will provide bus transportation between Grand Rapids and Big Rapids beginning on Monday, Aug. 29.
The service, approved by both the Ferris Board of Trustees and The Rapid Board of Directors, will run Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters, when classes are scheduled, from 6:25 a.m. through 9:05 p.m.
Although The Rapid shuttle service is open to anyone, it is primarily intended for current and prospective Ferris students who permanently reside in Kent County and are already enrolled or intend to enroll in classes on the university’s Big Rapids campus. Students who are required to live on the Big Rapids campus for the fall and spring semesters and are interested in enrolling in the bus ridership program will be released from their housing obligation if they meet the eligibility requirement – a permanent Kent County address – and their student accounts show they have purchased a shuttle bus card for each semester.
The daily shuttle bus route originates in downtown Grand Rapids at The Rapid’s central station, located at 250 Grandville Ave. SW. The trip to and from Ferris’ main campus in Big Rapids includes one scheduled stop at the Meijer store in Cedar Springs, located at 3700 17 Mile Road. That stop will be in the parking lot directly south of the Meijer gas station.
Students, faculty and staff can purchase a shuttle bus card, similar to Ferris’ Bulldog Card, for unlimited use for $700 per semester. Financial Aid award packages do include commuter cost for students who do not live on campus.
Shuttle bus cards can be purchased from Ferris’ Business Operations office in the Timme Center for Student Services Room 101. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Identification cards require a photo image which is to be taken in CSS. Cards must be purchased and picked up by customers. New cards must be purchased each semester.
Riders who do not wish to purchase a shuttle bus card can pay a one-way trip fee of $8 in cash each time they ride.
Passengers will be allowed to ride the shuttle bus without showing their cards from Monday, Aug. 29 through Wednesday, Aug. 31. However, they must be prepared to present their cards to the bus driver beginning Thursday, Sept. 1 or pay the $8 one-way cash fare.
The 40-foot commuter bus has a seating capacity of 40 passengers and standing room for approximately 20 passengers.
The shuttle service will not run on weekends or during student holidays or breaks when no classes are scheduled.
Annual costs to operate the bus service are estimated at $100,000 and would be covered by a combination of university funding and revenue from rider fares. Under the plan, Ferris would evaluate the ridership after two years of operation and determine whether it is feasible to continue the service.