New bus route for workers and shoppers includes YMCA

| Posted in: Latest News

At their Wednesday, Aug. 23 meeting, the Cascade Board of Trustees voted to approve a four-month agreement with statewide nonprofit Hope Network to run a customized fixed route bus service to and from major employers in the Cascade Downtown Development Authority (DDA) area beginning the morning of Monday, Aug. 28.

Township Board of Trustees approves 4-month contract with Hope Network to provide a customized fixed bus route for commercial district

For Immediate Release | Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023
Media Contact:  Cascade Township | | 616-949-1500
CASCADE, Mich. — Cascade is moving forward with a new and more flexible option for those needing transportation to and from businesses within township borders. At their Wednesday, Aug. 23 meeting, the Cascade Board of Trustees voted to approve a four-month agreement with statewide nonprofit Hope Network to run a customized fixed route bus service to and from major employers in the Cascade Downtown Development Authority (DDA) area beginning the morning of Monday, Aug. 28.

This public-private partnership was forged after efforts to negotiate a new contract between the Cascade Township DDA and The Rapid were unsuccessful. 

“Cascade is committed to providing transit alternatives for the workers and other underserved individuals that rely on Rapid Route 29,” said Cascade Township Supervisor Grace Lesperance. “When it comes to bus stop locations and pickup/dropoff times, this agreement puts the township and riders in the driver’s seat.”

The township will subsidize the cost of this route using monies originally allocated for Rapid Route 29. Lesperance emphasized this pilot route is just that - a pilot. “Together with Hope Network, we will be regularly reviewing ridership data and adjust routes and pickup times accordingly,” she said.

This initial route focuses on providing transportation for workers and shoppers within the general DDA area.

The route
For $3 a ride one-way beginning Monday, Aug. 28, a Hope Network bus will run from 6 a.m.-10 a.m. and 1 p.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Fridays along the 28th Street corridor and to adjacent businesses. There will be no weekend service at this time.

Beginning from the parking lot at 28th and Acquest by the three flagpoles, the route will run approximately on the hour from Acquest Avenue and 28th and include stops beginning at the Cascade Walmart; the Cascade Goodwill; Cascade Meijer; Mary Free Bed YMCA; then back west to Cascade Target, Aldi and Costco stores along Hotel Avenue; then back to 28th and Acquest. Any employees of businesses at the covered shopping centers are welcome to use the bus. For timely bus updates, riders should call 616.243.0876.
Township Supervisor Lesperance and Hope Network both stressed this route was created based on information received from area businesses who responded to township requests for employee transportation information. This route could change depending on ridership numbers and additional employer feedback. The township and Hope Network will be continually reviewing data to adjust stops and departure and arrival times as needed. 

Where to board
Riders will board a smaller Hope Network bus in a parking lot on the north side of 28th Street near the three flag poles directly across from Acquest Avenue. Riders using the Rapid to reach this location will need to disembark there, at Rapid Route 5 Stop #2119 (28th Street/Aquest).

What about the disabled community?
Separately, Hope Network and the township are developing transportation solutions for Cascade residents with special needs and mobility issues. This service will begin Monday, Aug. 28 and is for Cascade residents only. Call 616.243.0876 for more information or to schedule a ride.

What about seniors?
For those over 60, the township recommends utilizing RideLink, Kent County’s dedicated transportation service for seniors. All Cascade residents 60 and older have access to RideLink to destinations anywhere within the borders of Kent County. Rides are available between the hours of 7:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Mondays-Fridays. Rides must be booked at least one day in advance and can be scheduled up to a week in advance. Riders can expect buses to arrive within a 15-minute window of the scheduled time. Rides cost $2 per trip, or $4 round-trip. Before scheduling a ride, you must register. 

To register online, visit without internet access can request a physical registration form by calling 844-694-6589. Once registered, seniors can schedule a ride by phone by calling the same number listed above. For more information, visit

For the past several years, the Cascade Township DDA has paid for a portion of The Rapid’s Route 29, which has provided access to businesses (and municipal buildings) within the DDA boundary, primarily along 28th Street. This costs Cascade Township approximately $218,000 per year. The current contract with The Rapid expired on Aug. 27.
In an effort to be fiscally responsible and ensure Cascade’s residents, workers, and businesses are being served by The Rapid, Cascade Township took a proactive approach. Cascade’s DDA last spring conducted a transportation survey. After reviewing survey data and Rapid ridership data provided to the township, it became clear that Route 29 was not serving the needs of its riders.

In response to these findings, the township attempted to negotiate a new contract and new routes with The Rapid. The DDA presented several options for The Rapid to consider to both improve bus service in the DDA area and save the township funds in the process. In response, The Rapid offered to reduce the frequency of Route 29 service as an alternative. This offer was not acceptable to the township. Other options were presented, but The Rapid did not entertain those suggestions either. The Rapid then requested the Township renew a contract by June. Because of The Rapid’s inflexibility, the DDA at its June meeting voted to decline that contract, and research alternatives.
About Cascade Township
Home to more than 19,000 residents, Cascade Township is committed to serving the public by providing the finest community services possible with respect, efficiency and integrity. With the Thornapple River at its heart, Cascade Township is recognized as an excellent place to live, work, play and raise a family. For more information, visit

About Hope Network
Hope Network is a leading statewide nonprofit organization that provides healthcare and life services to 34,000+ people in more than 240 Michigan communities annually.  Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the organization’s scope of services is deep and broad, spanning mental health, rehabilitation, transportation, autism, affordable housing and more.  Through a faith-centered mission and the efforts of 2,800 staff members, Hope Network goes to incredible lengths to help people overcome the physical, social or mental barriers standing in their way.
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