Case Study

How InterClean Helped The Rapid Mitigate Transit Vehicle Damage

The RAPID wash system case study

About The Rapid

The Rapid is a transit agency that serves the Grand Rapids and Michigan area in the US. For the Rapid, effective transit bus washing is essential. Their service location is subject to a lot of rain, snow, and freezing and thawing cycles that not only make their buses dirty but also result in weather-related corrosion when buses are not washed properly. 

The Challenge

In addition to harsh weather conditions causing corrosion on their transit buses, The Rapid also struggled with their previous wash system. The wash brushes used by their original system had worn down the paint on their buses and caused numerous maintenance problems. 

Additionally, The Rapid had recently added a special commuter line that involved a CNG-powered articulated bus with a lot of rooftop components and additional length. This new bus meant that the Rapid needed a bus wash that could accommodate the uniquely shaped vehicle.

Cue InterClean

In 2008, The Rapid turned to InterClean for their new transit wash system to solve the challenges with their previous wash system and to address their need to accommodate their new commuter line. InterClean worked with The Rapid’s facility design team, operations, purchasing, and maintenance crew throughout the planning and purchasing process to understand the agency’s goals and ensure that The Rapid’s new wash system would meet their unique needs. 

Ultimately, InterClean ended up designing the then-new Hybrid bus wash system to meet the agency’s goals of mitigating vehicle damage, reducing environmental impact, and accommodating odd-shaped vehicles. 

In 2019, The Rapid worked with InterClean again to upgrade their system with InterClean’s new XJ404-FF model because the new system is uniquely suited for The Rapid’s current transit vehicle washing needs. For both the initial project and the upgrade, InterClean maintained constant communication with the client from the beginning of each project to the end.

“This represented a sort of pioneering moment for InterClean and The Rapid, We designed the Hybrid Bus Wash with an eye toward addressing the sort of concerns that The Rapid had in mind.” 
Philip Luurtsema, Area Manager for InterClean

The Solution

From 2008 to 2019, InterClean worked with The Rapid to design and deploy two transit wash systems: the Hybrid Bus Wash and the XJ 404-FF. 

Hybrid Bus Wash

The Hybrid Bus Wash system was the first system that InterClean designed to solve The Rapid’s bus washing challenges in 2008. 

The Rapid’s Hybrid Bus Wash included the best parts of brush and touchless technologies to prevent vehicle damage while effectively cleaning hard-to-reach places such as the rooftop components of a CNGpowered articulated bus. This bus wash system included both vertical brushes and high-pressure spray components to mitigate wear and tear to vehicles during the wash cycles.


In 2019, The Rapid upgraded their wash system to InterClean’s new XJ404-FF. The new model applies measured washing pressure to the bus, which further reduces the potential for the system to damage the vehicle. 

Additionally, the wash system includes four counter-rotating brushes that provide consistent contact with the vehicle and even wrap around the rear to provide superior cleaning results. In the areas where brush washing is not possible, the system uses touchless cleaning technology, which allows operators to drive the vehicles through the wash bay without the need to stop and start. Less stopping and starting means less damage to the vehicle or the wash system due to unintended contact.

The Results

With a new InterClean wash system

With the new XJ404-FF model from InterClean, The Rapid has:  

A key differentiator of the InterClean XJ404-FF is the no-stop design. If The Rapid’s drivers drive vehicles through the wash bay too quickly, the brushes retract to mitigate the risk of damage while maintaining the efficiency of the wash process. 

With InterClean’s high-pressure, maintenance-free water recycling system, The Rapid can also take advantage of a consistent supply of recycled water. The InterClean EQ100 water recycling module recycles up to 100% of the wash water and produces up to 300 GPM of recycled water continuously. Additionally, InterClean’s water recycling module provides The Rapid with a constant circulation of wash water and no added chemicals, for wash cycles that are both sustainable and effective.