The Rapid’s Route 19 service was originally created in 2012 to provide enhanced service to the Michigan Street/Medical Mile corridor, one of the city’s most traveled routes.

In August 2018, The Rapid transformed Route 19 to help alleviate traffic and parking issues thanks to a partnership with the City of Grand Rapids and Spectrum Health.

Not to mention, The Rapid’s Route 19 service is now completely fare-free.

Here’s everything you need to know about The Rapid’s Route 19:

Fact: The Rapid's Route 19 carries an average of 1,100 riders every day.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Hours and Route

Route 19 buses operate Monday to Friday (no weekend service) and carry an average of 1,100 riders every day.

Route 19 runs from 6 AM-10 PM Monday-Friday. Riders catch a bus every 15 minutes from 6 AM-3 PM and again from 8 PM-10 PM, and every 10 minutes from 3 PM-8 PM.

With a quick tug of an overhead pull cord, riders can depart the bus at any of the 28 stops along Michigan Street between the city’s east side on Plymouth Avenue and the city’s west side on Bridge Street. The buses also take a short detour off Michigan Street to make stops on Lafayette Avenue, Prospect Avenue, and Barclay Avenue when traveling westbound before 3 PM.

Brittany Schlacter, public outreach coordinator of digital media for The Rapid, says if you’re unfamiliar with the route, there’s a helping resource available on every bus.

“If you have any questions about Route 19, or riding [a Rapid Bus] in general, don’t hesitate to ask your bus operator,” says Schlacter. “They’re very friendly and essentially act as your guide to the Greater Grand Rapids area.”

You can also make your traveling easier by getting real-time departure times on the Transit, MyStop, and Moovit mobile apps available for Android and iOS.

If you have any questions about Route 19, or riding [a Rapid Bus] in general, don’t hesitate to ask your bus operator.

Exploring Route 19

Riders will find an abundance of fun activities and unique stops while traveling across the vibrant and expanding West Side and Medical Mile neighborhoods. There are eateries, breweries, retailers, lodging options, and so much more to experience within a few blocks' walk from many Route 19 stops.

Shopping

Whether you’re shopping for groceries, gifts, or treating yourself to some Michigan-themed apparel, Route 19 includes a variety of retail shops and markets.

Bridge Street Market, a West Side neighborhood grocery store from Meijer, is located at the corner of Bridge Street and Stocking Avenue where there is conveniently a Route 19 stop. The market offers a diverse variety of fresh foods, national staples, and supplies for your day-to-day, including pet supplies, cleaning products, gifts, and over-the-counter medical supplies. There’s even a cozy Mayan Buzz Cafe area for a delicious daily dose of caffeine.

Grapevine Wine & Deli (Michigan/Plymouth stop), Grand Butchers, and Gordon Food Service grocery store (Michigan/Eastern stop), are also great stops on the east end of Route 19 where you can fill your grocery bags.

And if you’re searching for Michigan memorabilia, The Mitten State (Bridge/Broadway stop) curates a collection of apparel and other products that celebrate everything that makes Michigan an awesome place to live or visit.

Bars & Restaurants

It’s easy to experience how Grand Rapids earned the title of Beer City USA by simply traveling Route 19.

In particular, the area surrounding the Bridge/Broadway stop has seen significant growth in the past few years, adding many popular breweries. So, grab your Brewsader Passport (or download the mobile app), jump on a Route 19 bus, and enjoy some of the best restaurants and breweries Grand Rapids has to offer.

Entertainment

The stop on Michigan Street heading east drops you off within a few steps from DeVos Performance Hall where you can experience Grand Rapids’ vibrant performing arts scene through musicals presented by Broadway Grand Rapids and concerts by the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Numerous conventions, trade shows, and expos also happen in DeVos Place Convention Center each year, such as Grand Rapids Comic-Con, Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival, Grand Rapids Bridal Show, Kids & Family Expo, and more. The convention center is less than a half mile south of the Michigan Street stop.

Museums

You’ll find the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum nestled in the beautiful setting of Ah-Nab Awen-Park just less than a mile away from the stop at the corner of Michigan/Scribner. After soaking in the stunning Grand Rapids skyline view from the park, visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum, located just less than a half mile south of the Ford Museum and Ah-Nab-Awen-Park.

Route 19 will give you a fare-free ride to Medical Mile along Michigan Avenue.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Medical Mile Facilities

Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile is a renowned healthcare destination.

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Spectrum Health’s Butterworth Campus, Van Andel Institute, and Orthopedic Associates of Michigan’s outpatient surgery center are all conveniently located within walking distance from Route 19’s Michigan Street-College Avenue stop.

Medical Mile doesn’t, however, only offer world-class medical facilities. It also offers stunning views of the city’s skyline and Grand River views from the Belknap Lookout.

Plus, the Hampton Inn & Suites Grand Rapids Downtown is conveniently located near the Michigan/College stop if you’re visiting the city.

The stops at Michigan/College and Michigan/Lafayette also provide access to the north end of the historical Heritage Hill neighborhood, where you can see a sample of Michigan’s largest compilation of 19th and early 20th century homes.

Nearly every style of American architecture is represented in the 4,000 diverse homes found in Heritage Hill, some dating all the way back to 1844. Each year, the Heritage Hill Association hosts a Tour of Homes, as well as a Garden Tour.

The Rapid provides public transportation throughout the Grand Rapids area.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Other Free Routes

The Rapid additionally offers a few other fare-free routes that can get you wherever you need to go around the city.

The Rapid’s DASH West service provides access to the West Side and Heartside neighborhoods, as well as Monroe Center area shopping and dining and local hot spots like the Downtown Market, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Van Andel Arena, and Rosa Parks Circle.

Consider the DASH North for a lift to City Built Brewing, Field and Fire Cafe and the soon-to-be opening Embassy Suites on the north end of the route. Head south to visit the Downtown Market.

The city-sponsored portion of The Rapid’s Silverline provides a No Fare Zone from Wealthy Street northbound so you can stop at Founders Brewing Company, The Intersection, Amway Grand Plaza, JW Marriott Grand Rapids, and much more.

What are some of your favorite stops along Route 19? Let us know in the comments below!

Never miss a post!
Subscribe to the Insider Experience blog.