Why bother renting a car when there’s a local bus, filled with local people who will have the most interesting stories! Check out these routes located on Hawaiian islands, with tips and tricks, for traveling around the main island like you live there.
Oahu is the only Hawaiian Island with major freeways, and the four lanes going in either direction can practically turn into a parking lot during rush hours. When you hit stop and go traffic in your car you might feel like you’re about as fast as a sea turtle. Taking the bus can get you where you’re going faster during rush hour, and even when freeway traffic is flowing, bus travel can simplify your trip, especially if you’re having a couple cocktails.
While Waikiki and Pearl Harbor are the most popular destinations around Honolulu, the many neighborhoods and nearby attractions offer many more opportunities for exploration, culture, and adventure. The Bus can even take you as far north as Haleiwa on the North Shore for watching big wave surfers and as far west as Makaha, where you can escape the tourist crowds and find some nice, open stretches of sandy beach.
Take the bus out of the city to Sea Life Park, where you can spend all day checking out the exhibitions and shows, snacking on local grinds, feeding the birds and taking tons of pics. You can even swim with dolphins or sea lions for an extra charge. Sea Life Park is special, and not just because it was featured in the movie Fifty First Dates.
All of Sea Life Park’s animals are formerly injured or incapacitated animals that have been rescued from the sea and were treated at the park. The staff release any animals that become completely rehabilitated and can safely go back into their natural environment, and they continue to care for the ones who cannot survive in the open ocean for the remainder of their lives. Now that’s “pono.”
One-way fares on The Bus are $2.50, a four-day unlimited pass is $35, and an unlimited 30-day pass costs just $60. One-way fares include one transfer good until the time stamped on the ticket. Seniors and people with disabilities can ride one-way for just $1 as long as you show either The Bus Senior Card/Disability Card ($10) or your Medicare card. Youth up to 19 years of age can ride one way for $1.25 with proper I.D.
The Bus runs until midnight or later between the airport and Waikiki, but other city routes generally stop by 10 pm or shortly after.
Roberts Hawaii runs the bus system on Maui, which takes passengers from Kahana in West Maui to the Haiku North Shore to Upcountry Kula and everywhere in between. Most Maui bus service ends by 10 pm, but the Lahaina-bound route goes until 11 pm, when it drops the final passengers at the Wharf Cinema Center in the heart of downtown Lahaina.
Take a Maui bus to enjoy the spectacular scenery without distraction. Many of Maui’s roads are narrow and winding, and some visitors may find traveling from one side of the island to another more enjoyable if and relaxing when making the trip seated comfortably within an air-conditioned bus.
Make sure to leave some wiggle room for late buses or slow traffic. There are no freeways on Maui, and most roads consist of one lane going in each direction, but the traffic can get clogged at bottlenecks like “The Pali” between Kihei and Lahaina or between Kahului and Paia.
One-way bus fares cost $2 and allow for one transfer, which is handy since you’ll likely have to transfer at least once if you’re going further than 17 miles one way. Day passes cost $4. You can buy a monthly pass for $45, students and people with disabilities can get a monthly pass for $30, and seniors 55 years and older pay $25 for a monthly pass.
The Kauai Bus operates 9 different routes across the island, between Kekaha and Hanalei, from around 5:30 am to 10:40 pm daily, but you can contact the Kauai Bus Service to request earlier and later routes. There are mainline buses that travel further and shuttle buses for shorter trips. Main routes cost $2 per trip or $1 for youth and seniors. Shuttles cost $0.50 or $0.25 for youth and seniors. Monthly passes are $40.
Big Island- Hawaii
The Hele-On Transit Service operates 14 routes on Hawaii’s Big Island, most of them in East Hawaii. Only three routes operate on county observed holidays. You can take the bus to all of the major ports, including Kona Pier in Kailua-Kona, Hilo Harbor, and the Kawaihae Harbor. The bus can also take you to Volcanos National Park, but it doesn’t go to Mauna Kea.
One way fares are $2 or $1 for seniors and youths with I.D. and for people with disabilities. Unlike the buses on neighbor islands, Hele-On allows baggage on board at $1 per piece.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Guest Blogger
Jennifer Turner is a traveler, writer and social media enthusiast, and she combines these three passions in her editor job at LiveYourAloha. She enjoys photographing, snorkeling, and yoga.