Monday marks the debut of The Rapid's new $39 million Silver Line, which is described as the area's first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

The bottom line is this: You'll be able to get from 60th Street to Michigan Street NE and the Medical Mile in less than a half hour. That is 40 percent faster than you can get there using current bus routes with The Rapid.

And like everything else in Grand Rapids -- Beer City USA, there's a brew to celebrate the occasion!

I talked with Jennifer Kalczuk of The Rapid and she highlighted some of the features of the new service, which debuts with a week of free service beginning Monday, Aug. 25, including:

  • Off-board fare collections -- Riders will use ticket vending machines to pay their fare, allowing for quicker boarding and deboarding.
  •  GPS devices to keep the buses on schedule -- An onboard GPS can extend green lights and shorten red lights to keep the route flowing.
  • Free wi-fi on all buses, but that won't begin until after the free-ride week running Aug. 25 to 31.
  • More bicycle rack space on buses and at individual stations.

All of these features will make the route more efficient, meaning that you can get from 60th Street to Central Station in about 33 minutes, which Jennifer says is 40 percent faster than the current routes. From 60th to the Medical Mile will take about 26 minutes, and 28th Street to Mercy will take 12 minutes.

I will have highlights on my interview with Jennifer on WFGR's "The Jojo Show" on Monday morning.

Silver Foam

As I mentioned, there is a craft brew commemorating the new line.

Grand Rapids Brewing Co. is doing a special Silver Line bottle release of its Silver Foam lager.

Come out to the Silver Line Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 25. So, be sure to pick up your own limited edition Silver Line bottle of Silver Foam.

Silver Line Concept Video

The Rapid's new $39 million Silver Line starts service Monday. This is its route map. (Map courtesy The Rapid)