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March 25, 2006
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APTA > Media Center > News Releases > News Releases For Awards 04

Interurban Transit Partnership Receives National Recognition As APTA 2004 Outstanding Public Transportation System

For Immediate Release

October 13, 2004

contact: Virginia Miller
(202) 496-4816

Download In Adobe PDF Format

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) honored the Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid) of Grand Rapids, Michigan, yesterday with the APTA 2004 Outstanding Public Transportation System Award. This award is given to public transportation systems that have demonstrated achievement in efficiency and effectiveness in providing more than 4 million but fewer than 30 million annual passenger trips.

"The Rapid has been extraordinarily successful since it debut just 4 years ago," said APTA President William W. Millar. "The Rapid is truly a role model of excellence."

The Rapid has experienced dynamic growth in ridership, providing over 5.8 million trips in 2003, the highest number in the history of public transportation in the greater Grand Rapids metro area. A significant contribution to the ridership increase came from services provided to Grand Valley State University, as ridership grew 80 percent from March 2003 to March 2004.

In addition to the substantial ridership growth The Rapid has seen over the past few years, another recent achievement includes the opening of the Rapid Central Station on time and under budget in June 2004. This new, multi-modal transfer facility is the culmination of many years of collaboration between federal, state, and local governments. It is expected to be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified transit facility in the state of Michigan and in the nation.

U.S. Representative Vernon J. Ehlers (Michigan) praised The Rapid as he said, "I want to congratulate The Rapid on this wonderful honor. Their successes are part of an overall vision for building a modern transit system for a modern city. It has been my pleasure to support their efforts at the federal level, and I look forward to continuing to do so in the future."

Other recent achievements on the operations side include the installation of new fareboxes and the upgrading of bus stop signs and shelters. On the financial side, The Rapid has implemented an integrated purchasing software package that ensures proper payment authority and maintains budget integrity. The system has also resulted in more timely accounts payable distributions to vendors, virtually eliminating the need for "emergency" manual checks and the assessment of interest or other penalties.

"This is such an exciting day for us - our employees, passengers, the board, and the six cities that make up The Rapid," said The Rapid Executive Director and CEO Peter Varga. "It is very gratifying to have our hard work and vision acknowledged. To be judged the best really caps off a banner year for us."

The Rapid's service area encompasses 185 square miles and has a population of 5000,000. The Rapid operates 18 fixed-routes, two contracted routes with the city of Grand Rapids, and three contracted routes with Grand Valley State University. The system also offers Go!Bus demand-response service, Passenger Adaptive Suburban Service (PASS), business transportation services, and will soon offer a Job Access and Reverse Commute program.

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APTA is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 member organizations including public transportation systems; planning, design, construction and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; and state associations and departments of transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical public transportation services and products. APTA members serve more than 90 percent of persons using public transportation in the United States and Canada.

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