The Rapid, Davenport Hook Up

GRAND RAPIDS — The Interurban Transit Partnership approved a contract with Davenport University Wednesday to provide bus transportation between the university’s Fulton Street campus and its new Lettinga campus near 60th Street and Broadmoor.

The Davenport contract is similar to the contract The Rapid has with Grand Valley State University, which transports students between GVSU’s Allendale campus and its Pew campus downtown.

Under the agreement the route is open to the public, but Davenport students, faculty and staff ride free with a valid Davenport photo ID.

The contract calls for Davenport to pay ITP $49.98 per revenue hour, which constitutes the cost of providing service, minus 30 percent state operating assistance. It’s the same price GVSU pays.

“We don’t charge them for the buses or anything like that. We get federal grants for that,” said Jim Fetzer, director of development for The Rapid. He said Davenport approached The Rapid looking for the same type of transportation option for their students that GVSU had.

The Rapid started offering fixed route services to Davenport on Aug. 22 to get a jump on the start of fall semester.

Fetzer anticipates a slower start in terms of passenger totals on the Davenport express shuttle because it’s a new service and not everyone is aware of it yet.

Ridership was 72 people during the first week of operation, and three weeks later was up to 244, he noted.

Ridership on the GVSU connector route grew dramatically once the word got around campus about the service. During the school year, daily ridership totals are as high as 11,500 passengers. Last year, daily totals were just over 7,000 passengers a day, Fetzer said.

Grand Valley students, faculty and staff have been a major force in ridership growth, accounting for 1 million of the record breaking 6.3 million passengers that rode The Rapid in fiscal 2005, which ended Friday.    

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