Rapid increases bus safety at GV

By Rachel Cross | 11/4/12 4:43pm


GVL / Amy Hammond

by Amy Hammond / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Measures are being taken to better ensure that Grand Valley State University students who ride the Rapid have a successful trip to their destinations.

If you were attending classes this summer at GVSU, you may have noticed a new safety feature that has been added to the bus system. The voiceover now encourages riders to “Please remain seated.” said Jennifer Kalczuk, external relations manager at the Rapid, she said this was a system-wide change.

“When reviewing slip and fall incidents, we noticed that our customers were pulling the stop request cord and then getting out of their seats by the exit when the bus stopped,” said Steve Luther, safety and training officer at the Rapid. “We felt that an announcement would allow our customers to be involved in their own safety and it was a way to let them know that it was okay to remain seated.”

Luther added that the training for bus operators is quite involved and interactive to ensure that bus drivers are prepared to drive efficiently for students around the city of Grand Rapids.

“Our bus operators receive approximately eight weeks of training and it includes both bus safety and customer service awareness training,” Luther said. “We include courses and training material from the National Safety Council, the Department of Transportation, and the Federal Transit Administration.”

Mark Rambo, manager of operations at GVSU, said the Rapid is directly responsible for providing the driver training safety improvements to the vehicles, as well as operating under very strict federal guidelines for passenger safety.

“As a partner of the Rapid, our shared goal is to ensure that our students, faculty and staff are provided safe and efficient service,” Rambo said.

GVSU annually surveys riders about quality and safety, and Rambo said the response rate last year was excellent. Last year, 53 percent of riders, including faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students said they thought the bus drivers’ driving skills and safety were good. In addition, 75 percent said they owned a vehicle but still chose to ride the bus. Overall, the GVSU population agreed that, for the most part, the GVSU bus schedule met their needs.

The Rapid busses run regularly, Monday through Sunday. On weekdays, the busses at GVSU run every seven minutes and on weekends it runs every hour. For a detailed list of bus stops and schedules, visit www.gvsu.edu/bus/bus-routes-and-schedules-52.htm.

For more information regarding the quality, efficiency and safety of the Rapid, call the Rapid hotline directly at (616) 774-1298.


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