It was announced last year that a new driverless shuttle would be coming to Grand Rapids!
The shuttle arrived in late 2019 and has been off to a great start. The vehicle has only been running for a few months now but has already given over thousands of rides. The shuttle is still undergoing their one year-trial period but it seems like everything has been running quite smoothly. Ridership is predicted to increase further going into 2020.
There are currently eight running shuttles, four on the road while four are charging. The transportation vehicle offers free rides to over 10 parking lots and many frequently visited areas, including Grand Rapids Children’s Musuem and the Van Andel Arena.
The Shuttle has six seats per vehicle and can travel up to 25 mph along the route. The vehicle makes stops every 4-6 minutes and runs from 7 a.m to 7 p.m during the weekdays. Riders of the shuttle consist of mainly commuters and college students.
The shuttle is intended to drive itself, however; there is a seat that is reserved for an attendant in the event that an emergency would occur. Since the shuttle’s debut in late July, several changes have been made to ease a few concerns.
The first change was to add a wheelchair accessible vehicle to the route. Another change was to switch up the schedule and make it run more during the busy times. Due to feedback, the route has been modified to run from Monday-Friday instead of the original schedule of Tuesday-Saturday.
It looks like the Driverless Shuttle is on the rise in Grand Rapids and seems to be taking a successful route. By taking necessary precautions and listening to the public’s feedback, they should be able to grow and cater towardd more Michigan transportation seekers in the future.