The Rapid Announces New Chief Operating Officer

Interim COO is selected to fill the executive-level role permanently

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Rapid today announced the appointment of Steve Schipper as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO). The Rapid’s Board of Directors asked Schipper to serve as Interim COO in June. He will now officially oversee the transportation, fleet maintenance, facilities, and special services departments in his new role.

Joining The Rapid’s team in 2009 as fleet and facilities manager, Schipper brought more than 20 years of transportation experience to his role. In 2015, Schipper was appointed to the role of transportation manager where he managed bus operators, dispatch operations, accident prevention, safety programs, and training.

Schipper continues to fulfill a critical role through the coronavirus pandemic, overseeing transportation operations and also leading The Rapid’s internal task force response and activities.

“Every team member at The Rapid shows incredible dedication to their job every day, and it’s been truly inspiring to watch the entire agency go above and beyond during the pandemic,” said Schipper. “I’m humbled to be trusted with this leadership role, and I look forward to continuing our work to provide safe, efficient and reliable transportation to our community.”

The Chief Operating Officer at The Rapid reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and coordinates all transit service delivery. The Rapid’s Board of Directors is currently engaged in searching for a permanent CEO, while Win Irwin serves in an interim capacity.

Schipper was born and raised in West Michigan. He attended Hope College and Central Florida Community College. Schipper worked as a mechanic and bus driver for Hope College and Cardinal Charters and Tours. He has been professionally involved in fleet maintenance since 1987 as an auto dealership service manager and a fleet manager with Hertz at the Miami airport. Before coming back to Grand Rapids, he was the deputy director of community services at the City of Key West, Florida, overseeing public works, fleet, transit, landscaping, facilities, recreation and the historical cemetery.

In his spare time, Schipper is a volunteer and Lieutenant with the Cedar Springs Fire Department, where he is an emergency medical first responder, firefighter and holds numerous FEMA certifications in Emergency Incident Management.

Michigan Transit Informational Campaign Request for Proposals

File Attachments: Michigan Transit Informational Campaign Request for Proposals.pdf, Marketing Campaign Responses to Questions.pdf

The MPTA is currently soliciting the attached RFP for information from creative, social media, and content marketing agencies to handle media requirements. Interested agencies should have integrated marketing communication capabilities, a strong track record in managing all types of media, and/or strong experience in production of creative works or social campaigns. Agencies should also have relevant experience in working with leading brands. Prior public sector experience is desired.

The responses to questions posed by potential bidders are also attached as of June 29th. Proposal responses are due Wednesday, July 15th at Noon EST.

MTA Rides to Wellness 64% Higher in One Year

In October 2019 the Mass Transportation Authority provided 13,300 rides on its Rides to Wellness Service representing a ridership increase of 64% compared to October 2018 where 8081 passengers were transported.

The Rides to Wellness On Demand service offers same day service, provided within a goal of 30 minutes. Since the inception of Rides to Wellness service in 2015 the Mass Transportation Authority has established 14 area partners that certify and pay for their clients on this highly successful transportation service.

Recently, the Rides to Wellness program was expanded to provide same day service to take veterans and their spouses. This service offers transportation across three counties and connecting services to veteran’s hospitals in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Saginaw, Michigan. The number of veterans utilizing the service is growing exponentially daily.

The Rides to Wellness program today includes 100 cars and mini vans with ramps to meet client’s needs. Plans call for expansion of an additional 50 vehicles over the next 18 months. Passengers may schedule via phone, internet and/or utilize a new app. The new app, when fully deployed will allow passengers to directly schedule with the drivers. The Mass Transportation authority anticipates that ridership will grow to 1,000 passengers per day by late Spring of 2020.

“People are living much longer and the need for medical transportation services continues to grow,” Ed Benning, General Manager and CEO of MTA, stated.

TheRide Seeks Public Input on Long Range Public Transportation Plan

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) is developing its next long-range public transportation plan and is seeking the public’s input to help shape the future of public transportation in the greater Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area.

The long-range public transportation plan will use community input to:

  • Create a vision for public transit in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area
  • Guide and prioritize investments for the public transit network in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area
  • Create a disciplined approach to achieve the goals outlined by TheRide’s Board of Directors
  • Coordinate efforts with other transportation projects and plans throughout the region
  • Public input will be accepted from October 1 through November 11. “We want to hear from our customers and community members alike to find out what they need and want from the public transportation system in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area. This input, along with feedback from key stakeholders, will be used to shape future public transit services,” Tim Sanderson, Deputy CEO of Planning & Innovation at TheRide said.

    The public input sessions are scheduled for:

    Wednesday, October 16, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    Ypsilanti District Library
    5577 Whittaker Rd
    Ypsilanti, MI 48197

    Wednesday, October 23, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    Ann Arbor District Library – Downtown Branch
    343 S. 5th Ave.
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104

    Wednesday, October 30, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    Spark East – Downtown Ypsilanti
    215 W. Michigan Ave
    Ypsilanti, MI 48197

    The public is also invited to stop by a drop-in session at the Blake Transit Center or Ypsilanti Transit Center. Those sessions are scheduled for:

    Tuesday, October 15, 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
    Blake Transit Center
    328 S. Fifth Ave
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104

    Thursday, October 31, 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
    Ypsilanti Transit Center
    220 Pearl St.
    Ypsilanti, MI 48197

    Tuesday, November 5, 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
    Ypsilanti Transit Center
    220 Pearl St.
    Ypsilanti, MI 48197

    Thursday, November 7, 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
    Blake Transit Center
    328 S. Fifth Ave
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104

    If you are unable to attend one of these sessions, there are many other ways feedback can be submitted.

    Subject: Long Range Plan

    Call: 734-794-1882

    Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority
    c/o Planning Projects
    2700 S. Industrial Highway
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104

    You can find more information about the Long-Range Plan and provide comments online by visiting:

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