GVSU & The Rapid To Celebrate Laker Line Opening
As Grand Valley State University prepares to welcome students both virtually and in person, the new Laker Line is set to debut on Monday.
The new line, (which replaces the Rapid Route 50), will look a little different than originally planned, due to the Pandemic.
“It’s been a project in the works for seven years, we’re thrilled to be bringing it on to the street.”
Bill Kirk is The Rapid Business Affairs Specialist. He says throughout the seven years of planning with Grand Valley State University for the new Laker Line, capacity was one of the biggest concerns.
“The Route 50 buses are pretty packed, have had high capacity issues over the years. The Laker buses are articulated buses. They’re going to be 30 feet longer than others, can hold 90 riders, compared to 60 now. Hopefully will allow for easier transportation between downtown and Allendale.”
In fact, Kirk says from 2001 to about 2018, ridership on route 50 grew about 770-percent. More specifically from approximately 940 riders per weekday to a little over 7700 per weekday. Which explains why they had to increase capacity.
“If we were operating under normal circumstances with no pandemic and full classes at GVSU, we’d be looking at an increase of that 7700 to 8000 a day probably up to ten-thousand plus.”
Kirk says they will be prepared for that heavy ridership when the time comes, but right now, he says in addition to starting the new line, their main focus is safety. Buses will be cleaned like other Rapid buses with enhanced cleaning disinfectants and steam cleaning at night plus some cleanings in between.
“When you ride The Rapid and this will include the Laker Line, you will be required to wear a mask. So, we’re trying to follow all the rules and keep our cleaning up to keep everybody as safe as possible.”
The new Laker Line which replaces the Rapid Route 50, is not just for Lakers. Lakers, faculty and staff get to ride for free. But Kirk says they welcome everyone on the routes between downtown and Allendale as well as to the Medical Mile. Buses run about every ten minutes.
The Rapid will hold a ceremony on Monday to properly kick things off with the new Laker Line.