As of August 25, 2014, Grand Rapids has joined the ranks of cities offering bus rapid transit (BRT) service. The Silver Line, as it's called here, whisks riders along an almost 10 mile stretch of Division Avenue that begins in the south at 60th & S. Division, runs all the way to Michigan Street and the Medical Mile, and includes a loop with key stops at stations downtown. (Click here for a Silver Line route map.)

Silver line with bus racks

The Silver Line boasts several special features to make taking public transportation easier, more convenient, and more attractive for riders.

  • Easy on-off through front and back doors that open simultaneously.
  • Stations with raised platforms that are level with the bus, making boarding accessible for everyone.
  • Bike racks on the front of the bus.
  • Stations shelters that include surveillance systems, sidewalk snowmelt systems, and real time next-bus signage.
  • Ticket vending machines (TVMs) at every station. Riders pay and validate tickets beforehand, saving time. (No showing tickets upon boarding. Instead, the Rapids will do spot checks.)
  • Free wi-fi all on Silver Line buses.
  • Free parking (based on availability) at the southernmost station, 60th and S. Division.

Last month, we shared ways you can use the Silver Line to get around downtown for fun or for work, as well as how you can ride the Silver Line with kids. Beginning next month, during ArtPrize, from September 24 October 12, you can also ride to Silver Line to stations near many of the ArtPrize venues.

The Power of Three by Bruce A. Niemi Courtesy of ArtPrize.org

The Power of Three by Bruce A. Niemi
Courtesy of ArtPrize.org

The fare for a ride on the Silver Line is the same as for any other ride on The Rapid - $1.50 per ride. But if you'd like to use the Silver Line to get around during ArtPrize, you're in luck! You can purchase 2 ArtPrize wristbands for $5, which give you unlimited rides for the duration of ArtPrize (September 24 October 12). Thats 19 days of unlimited rides for 2 people for just $5!

Not sure where to start? ArtPrize has developed 4 walking pathways, all of which take you to many of the venues. And all of which are accessible via the Silver Line. Here's how:

  1. Take the Silver Line to the Monroe & Louis station, disembark, and head to Rosa Parks Circle. From there, you can walk all or part of the 2.2 mile Center City Pathway laid out by ArtPrize, which covers more venues that any other pathway.
  1. Take the Silver Line to Michigan & Bostwick, Fulton & Ransom, or Ransom & Crescent. Get off at any of those stations and check out the 1.8 mile Hillside Pathway, which includes two ArtPrize Showcase Venues, the Women's City Club and St. Cecilia's Music Center, in addition to other venues.
  1. Take the Silver Line to the Fulton & McConnell station to access the 2.1 mile Heartside Pathway. Along this pathway, you'll find the UICA, Avenue for the Arts, and the ArtPrize HUB.
  1. To access the 2.4 mile West Side/Monroe North ArtPrize Pathway, take the Silver Line to the Monroe/DeVos Place station. From there, follow the pathway to visit all sorts of ArtPrize venues, including the Ford Museum and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Using the Silver Line during ArtPrize will give you a great feel for how the system works and save you the hassle of parking downtown, so give it a try!

For more details on how the Silver Line works, click here to see our previous post or visit The Rapid website.