GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Rapid officially broke ground Monday on its new Laker Line.
Work is already underway building platforms up and down Lake Michigan Drive and Fulton Street for the new bus route.
The route will run between Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus and downtown Grand Rapids. It will replace the current Route 50 buses, which currently connect GVUS’s Allendale campus with its downtown campuses.
“We just stepped into the future. With the mobility challenges, we have this is going to help out students and the rest of the region. I am absolutely thrilled that we followed my three-p’s plan, prepare and now we are performing as well. I’m thrilled about the future,” said Tom Haas, president of GVSU.
The Laker Line will operate as a Rapid Bus Transit line just like the Silver Line does. There will be more than 20 stops between Allendale and downtown Grand Rapids.
“It’s a way to connect people to education, connect people to jobs and really just a quick way for people along that alignment to get into Grand Rapids and connect with the rest of The Rapid network,” said Andrew Johnson, the CEO of The Rapid.
The Laker Line will use articulated buses that are 60 feet long, replacing the current buses that are just 40 feet long. The added length will allow more people to ride, increasing the capacity on the route by about 50 percent.
Rapid officials estimate about 10,000 people will ride the Lake Line a day. Most of those will be GVSU students, however, the Laker Line is meant for anyone to be able to ride it.
“The partnership that has come together the public and the private joining up to make this happen and certainly Grand Valley’s involvement really has made this a project that is much easier to go advocate and sell,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, a Republican from Zeeland.
The Rapid says the Laker Line is expected to be up and running by August 2020.