4 tips for a novice Oahu bus rider

Posted: April 19, 2011 by Nathan Kam in Hawaiian Islands, Oahu, Travel
Tags: , , ,


Last week my car was in the auto body shop and I decided to take TheBus to work for the first time. Sure Ensen and I have taken the bus to the mall on the weekend for fun one or two times, but this was my chance to check out our public transportation system in more “serious” terms. Thank goodness TheBus.org uses Google Transit to help you figure out which bus to catch and where to get on.

From Salt Lake, it was as simple as it gets. Get on bus #3 and ride it all the way to downtown. It took just 30 minutes in morning traffic. Sweet.

Aside from realizing how efficient public transportation can be, I also made some observations that may help a novice bus rider enjoy the ride a little more. Here they are:

  • Have exact change – It’s $2.50 for adults to ride. Exact change helps keep the boarding process smooth especially during the morning rush hour. You don’t want to be THAT person holding up the line because you only have a $10 bill.
  • Expect to stand – If you’re taking a busy/popular route, the buses fill up quick during rush hour so you may have to stand. I did. It’s not that bad, but I was expecting to be able to sit and work on my way. Negative. Traveling during non-peak work hours is probably best if you need to sit.
  • Hold on tight and face the side windows – If you have to stand, hold on tight and face the side windows on the bus. It’s easier to keep your balance. I made the mistake of looking forward until I realized everyone else was positioned the other way. I’m just glad I didn’t fall, which almost happened a couple times.
  • Keep moving to the back – As new riders get on, it’s proper bus etiquette for existing riders to keep moving to the back. So don’t just stand in the same spot like I did for two stops. Keep it moving.

Hope these little tips help. Oh, one more thing…don’t forget to pull the cord to let the driver know you want to get off the bus. If you’re not sure, just ask someone around you or the driver when you get on.

Happy riding!


  1. Matt says:

    Good write up. Not the fastest way to see the island, but if you’re on a budget TheBus is hard to beat. We have more info on TheBus here: https://lookintohawaii.com/hawaii/41505/thebus-information-oahu-honolulu-hi

  2. KT says:

    As a bus rat who also rides the #3 route (but in a different city!), my favorite public transit strategy is deployment of my mp3 player. Drowns out cell phone conversations and other annoyances.

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