One of the nice things about Oahu is that you can go basically anywhere on the island using the extensive bus system. TheBus, as the system is called, is fairly simple and cheap to use-much cheaper than renting a car, especially if you are staying for an extended amount of time. Relying on TheBus does require a certain amount of patience and, of course, slightly more walking than you would have to put up with using a car.
One trip on the bus will cost you $2.50. When you pay your fare you can ask for a transfer from the driver. They will hand you a little piece of paper that allows you two more bus rides within a certain period of time. Technically, the transfers are not intended to be used for round trip rides, although I’m not sure how well the drivers police that. There is a pretty ominous warning on the transfer slip saying that misuse could result in a fine of $1,000 or a year in prison. Misusing a bus transfer seems to me like a pretty embarrassing reason to end up in jail, so I’d probably not test it.
“What are you in for?”
“Bus transfer misuse”-Puts on best ‘I’m a badass so don’t mess with me’ face.
TheBus does not offer weekly or daily passes. You can get a monthly pass for $60 if you are planning to ride a lot or be on the island for a while. A monthly pass is not good for thirty days from when you purchase it; it’s only good for the month in which you purchase it. For example, we purchased our bus pass in November so it expired November 30th. From personal experience, I’d advise you to not lose your bus pass. Mine fell out of my pocket on a bus ride. We went back to ask if they might have a lost and found we could contact, and, well, I think Brooks & Dunn put it best when they sang:
It’s kind of like a lost and found in a border town,
asking ’bout a diamond ring.
They just look at you like you’ve lost your mind,
and say they haven’t seen a thing.
Staying in Makaha, the 40 and the C have been our lifelines. Both routes go from Makaha to Honolulu. The difference is that the 40 stops in all the cities in between while the C skips over several cities-a good option if your intended destination is Honolulu.
In Honolulu a couple of good transfer points to know are the Ala Moana, a major shopping center where several buses stop, and King and Punchbowl, which is near the historic city center. There are about a million buses that go to Waikiki from either of those locations if you are wanting to get to the beach. In general, though, if you can get to one of those stops you can probably get a bus to wherever you want to go, and any of the bus drivers can usually point you in the right direction.
If you are going to be in Oahu for a while, I’d recommend getting TheBus app. There are actually a couple of them. DaBus-The Oahu Bus App has route information, times, and route change information. My favorite, though, is TheBus Time. It’s simple to use. You find your location, select the stop you’re at, and it pulls up a list of all of the bus times at that particular stop. Because most of the buses are GPS-enabled, the times are updated with accurate stop times rather than just scheduled stops. Believe you me, there are some stops where you will really want to know how long you’re gonna be stuck there. We’ve spent a decent amount of time with the meth-heads at the Makaha Valley and Farrington stop. It’s reassuring to have a bus time to count down to.
One final tip for your bus expeditions: bring a jacket. The buses on Oahu are seriously air-conditioned. You’ll be glad you brought it.