Taking the bus can be a convenient and cost-effective way for getting around Oahu during your Hawaii vacation when you’ll be on Oahu without a car.
The bus is the most frequent in Waikiki and Honolulu, and becomes less frequent the further away you get from these places.
But, it can take you to most of Oahu!
You may consider taking the bus to places that are further away from Waikiki and Honolulu like the North Shore or Kailua, but it does take more time requiring you to be patient!
They say slow travel is where it’s at, right? 😉
The Google Maps public transit feature makes it super simple to take the bus from Waikiki or Honolulu and get around Oahu, as well as to get bus directions on-the-go.
No paper map with bus schedule necessary, just the Google Maps app on your phone!
And if you have your doubts, even the Honolulu city government recommends checking in with Google Maps to plan your route. 😉
Here’s what’s covered on this page:
- How to use Google Maps as your Oahu travel planner
- How much the bus costs on Oahu
- How to get off the bus
And then also see: How to get to popular tourist attractions by bus from Waikiki
How to use Google Maps as your Oahu bus travel planner
Using Google Maps, you can get a pretty good idea of how long it might take you to get from Point A to Point B by bus.
The total time will include the time it takes to walk to the bus stop from your starting point, the time you will wait between transfers, the time it takes to walk from your final bus stop to your destination, and of course the time you can expect to spend on the bus.
- Open up Google Maps
- Type in your “from” and “to” locations
- Click the public transit option (the train icon)
- Estimated time and potential bus route revealed!
Remember that there’s a chance you will encounter heavy traffic that will add on to your time, whether you’re driving a rental car or taking the bus!
And while the timings on Google Maps is generally reliable, sometimes there are bus delays that might not be picked up too.
Change the “leave now” departure time to the morning
If you are looking for directions at night when you’re at home, you may be given available bus routes at your local time, meaning a time that has fewer buses running.
In this case, you’ll want to change the “leave now” to “depart at” a time in the morning or early afternoon to get a better idea of bus routes and transfers.
Also, if you want to use the weekday bus schedule vs weekend bus schedule, you can do so too.
If you’re planning to go somewhere on a Saturday or Sunday, it’s best to change the “leave now” departure for Saturday or Sunday.
The bus on Oahu tends to be the least frequent on Sundays.
You can also plan your itinerary based on what time you want to arrive at your destination by changing the “leave now” to “arrive by.”
When you’re waiting at the bus stop
Always make sure you are standing on the correct side of the road that will be taking you to your destination and not away from it!
But if you do get on a bus going in the wrong direction… don’t stress. You are in Hawaii for adventures after all. 😉
And then get off at the next bus stop, and then cross the street. There will probably be a bus stop heading in the direction you want to go just nearby. (Confirm with your Google Maps app!)
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How much does the bus cost on Oahu?
Single ride bus ticket $2.75
One trip on the bus costs $2.75 per person. You’ll want to make sure to have exact change, or at least dollar bills, as change is not given.
Single day bus pass $5.50
If you’ll be taking the bus again to get back to your hotel or airbnb, you’ll want to ask the bus driver for a single day pass which is $5.50. Once again, be sure you have exact change or dollar bills.
This will allow you to have unlimited trips on the bus for the rest of the day until 3am. You will simply present your bus pass to the next bus driver.
Bus transfer tickets (discontinued)
The single day pass is new as of October 2017.
Previously, transfer tickets were issued, but this is no more.
Transfer tickets have been replaced by the single day bus pass.
Monthly bus pass $60
If you’ll be on Oahu for a couple of weeks and plan to explore a good part of Oahu by bus, you may consider getting a monthly bus pass.
This costs $60, and that’s equivalent to around 22 single bus tickets, or 11 single day passes.
The monthly bus pass is for the calendar month, so it will expire at the end of each month, no matter when you make the purchase.
If you think you’ll be approaching 11 single day passes during your time on Oahu, it may be worth it to get the bus pass anyway for the convenience of not having to deal with carrying cash and exact change all the time.
All you have to do is flash your monthly bus pass to the bus driver.
If you don’t end up maximizing its value, you can think of it as a donation to the great state of Hawaii. 😉 (Or more specifically the city of Honolulu!)
4-day bus pass (discontinued)
There used to be a 4-day bus pass, but this is no more.
So if you come across information about this, now you know. Don’t be too disappointed that you can’t get a 4-day pass anymore though.
The cost of it ($35 – that’s 14 single tickets) probably wouldn’t help you save money unless you were taking the bus a ton.
Updated info on bus tickets
To make sure you’re not reading outdated information on this page. 😉
Check here to get the most updated information on bus ticket prices and bus passes.
How to get off the bus
It may sound silly to need instructions on how to get off the bus. 😉
If you’re getting off at a popular bus stop when lots of people are on the bus, the bus will stop and the doors will probably open without you having to do anything.
But if you’re the only one getting off at the bus stop and you don’t take public transportation back home, there are 2 main things to remember:
- Pull the cord when your bus stop is next to notify the bus driver to stop at the next bus stop. This is where Google Maps can be really helpful so you can know when your bus stop is coming up.
- In order to exit the bus, when you are given the green light to do so (literally, there’s usually a green light), you touch the designated spot on the door so it will open.
It’s really not as complicated as it may sound, and after you do it even just once, you will be a pro!
It will make more sense once you’re on the bus and you see it for yourself.
Just know the first time you take the bus on Oahu that you need to do these things!
Things to do in Oahu + Taking the bus from Waikiki to popular tourist attractions
Now, if you’ve decided to stay on Oahu without a car…
Be sure to see best things to do by bus from Waikiki!
HAPPY OAHU BUS PLANNING!
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- What to wear hiking
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more Hawaii travel tips:
-- Oahu travel planning map
-- 3 day Oahu itinerary
-- 2 week Oahu itinerary
-- Best short hikes on Oahu with amazing views
- BIG ISLAND:
-- Big Island travel planning map
-- 7 day Big Island itinerary
-- Best beach hikes on the Big Island with amazing views