“It really is important to me to feel connected to what’s happening in Grand Rapids. The Rapid helps me do that.”
Public transportation connects people to their community. It gets Luisa Shumacher to work, business meetings, community events, and the store. And with ongoing improvements, many routes operate more frequently and later at night.
Excerpts from Luisa’s interview…
“I’ve been using public transportation probably since I was about 10 years old. Traveling to cities was a big part of growing up in my family and we went Washington DC often and I’ll never forget how cool it was riding the bus and wishing that it would be like that for me in the city where I decided to live growing up. I have been a regular Rapid rider for 2 years."
"I ride it to work, that’s really kind of where I started off, deciding that I was going to ride the rapid one day a week to work and now I’m up to two days a week and on weekends when I’m running errands around town or just going shopping."
"I use public transportation for a variety of reasons. The first one is it’s really a quality of life issue for me. I like riding the bus. I enjoy the ease of getting from place to place. I like being able to catch up on my work emails on my drive in to work because it’s the only place where you can text while riding so I really, really enjoy that luxury. But I also ride because it’s good for our community. It’s a way for me to see the people who are in my neighborhood. I often times don’t go to community events, I don’t have children in the school, so this is the chance that I have to interact with people who live in my community."
"Transit is important in my daily life because it’s the thing that helps me have a sense of community. When I ride on the rapid I get to see the people who live in my neighborhood, it gets me to where I’m going whether it’s a business meeting, a community event, a store, it’s really is important to me to feel connected to what’s happening in Grand Rapids and The Rapid helps me do that."
"In December of this last year I did an employee challenge encouraging the employees at WMCAT to ride the bus and providing them each with a Rapid 10-pass and saying that if you rode the bus, there could be some long-term benefits besides just getting a free bus pass. But it was a challenge to encourage our employees to get accustomed to public transportation and really overtime incentivize riding The Rapid, because as an employer it’s very expensive to pay for downtown parking. It’s about $1,000 to $1,500 dollars per parking space and I think that most employees would agree that they would rather have that pad their salary than have it be something that their employer pays for."
"I choose bus transportation because it’s convenient, frankly. I am able to walk one block away from my home and get dropped off two blocks away from my office. I am from my house to downtown Grand Rapids in 11 minutes. And now that the frequency of The Rapid has increased, I’m able to choose when I go to the office, really, it can be anytime at this point because I can just walk a block away, hop on within ten minutes there’s a bus there, at least, and I’m downtown. So it really is about convenience and that’s why I do it.”