DASH modifies shuttle schedules to get riders around downtown Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- You can spend a lot of time driving around downtown Grand Rapids searching for that perfect parking spot to open up, especially during events like ArtPrize. Now The Rapid has made major modifications to the city's DASH and Silver Line Bus services so that parking and getting around the city will be easier than ever before.

Those modifications are enabling you to park in exterior lots and take DASH around downtown free of charge.

With ArtPrize right around the corner, the changes are going to help a lot of people out, DASH program manager Barbara Singleton. "The system has been operating the way it has for almost 20 years," Singleton said. "We’re growing, and the city is growing, and we just want to be a part of that."

The changes were implemented September 1.

According to Singleton, elements of DASH Hill and South have been consolidated into the new DASH West route. DASH North will only have minor changes.

Take a look at the new map. The new routes are marked in red and blue and the city's parking lots are labeled in grey.

All you have to do is park at a Grand Rapids DASH lot, and you're able to board the bus and go to any destination you'd like.

The new routes are hitting major hot spots downtown including the Downtown Market, DeVos Place, and Van Andel Arena.

"They're in the neighborhoods, they’re in the core downtown ... They’re in major destinations where people want to go," Singleton said.

FOX 17 spoke to several DASH passengers Monday. Rudy Blalock told us he thinks the changes are working, adding that he takes the DASH bus to work every single day.

"It's very convenient for me," Blalock said. "I just know every single time I’ve gotten on it, it’s very quick."

During the week, DASH runs 6:30 a.m. to 10 at night, arriving at stops every seven to eight minutes. FOX 17's Erica Francis tested their timing, and the bus system arrived early twice. One time, timing out five minutes between buses, the next six and a half.

But not everyone is happy about the changes. One GVSU student told FOX 17 the changes are inconvenient, that the changed bus routes are forcing her to walk farther to class.

As for Singleton, she says the changes are helping downtown workers and visitors experience the city like never before.

Those riding the DASH Downtown Shuttle Tuesday will receive a coupon for 10-20 percent off at 15 local area restaurants. The promotion ends today.

For a list of the participating restaurants, click here.

The city’s Mobile GR and Parking Services Department are currently funding the pilot project.

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