How to Get Around Hawaii Without a Car Tip #1: TheBus is Awesome

TheBus system provides great public transportation around the islands. In fact, Honolulu was rated one of the best cities in the U.S. for its efficient public transportation. TheBus manages to provide transportation even to some of the deepest valleys on the island. Some places on the mainland only have public transportation running through the main cities or through the urban centers of a county. However, in Honolulu, TheBus gets into the smallest neighborhoods. As a teenager, I “caught” TheBus on a regular basis home from school before getting my driver’s license. TheBus stopped in front of our school and dropped us off a few blocks from our house. It was only a 15 minute walk and it was very convenient for our parents.

the bus system in Hawaii

The Bus runs throughout the islands!
A TheBus New Flyer DE40LFR bus crossing Nimitz Highway on Bishop Street in downtown Honolulu. by Musashi1600 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original.

How to Get Around Hawaii Without a Car Tip #2: The HandiVan is Great

The HandiVan is a separate public transportation specializing in transporting elderly and older age groups. The rides are specific and tailored to your request, for senior citizens. My grandma would take The HandiVan to the mall. The van is equipped with lift technology for wheelchairs and other types of walkers. The HandiVan also comes with wide seating and a smaller group of riders, so the ride is quieter and more comfortable. It is a great service provided by the state. Last I checked it was provided for a small fee. It is much cheaper than your average taxi or Uber cost, and with the technology benefit of accommodating older age groups.

Lahaina’s busy Front St. by Matt McGee is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original.

How to Get Around Hawaii Without a Car Tip #3: Waikiki Walking Distance

Waikiki is known to be a tourist center for those visiting the islands. However there are actually many high rise condominiums in the area that attract locals because of its beautiful views and short walking distance the beach and other locations. For example, Ala Moana, a popular shopping center (the largest outdoor shopping mall in the world,) is close by. Several restaurants, grocery stores, and nightlife centers are also nearby. If you live in Waikiki, or surrounding areas, there’s a good chance that things will be in walking distance to you. I did not grow up in Waikiki, but where I did was close enough to grocery stores that I would ride my bike there as a kid. My sister and I would ride our bikes to get ice cream – which would melt by the time we got back. But nonetheless, you get the point.

tepees on the beach

My friends and I found a cool tepee on the beach – so rustic. Image Copyright Celina Ma Photography. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

How to Get Around Hawaii Without a Car Tip #4: Carpooling with Friends

As mentioned before, the traffic in the islands can be severe at times. Hence, riding in a car with friends can make Saturday traffic more tolerable. Not to mention, you’re saving gas money and miles on your own vehicle. This can also be an efficient medium of getting around the island if you don’t have your own vehicle. Living nearby other friends can be conducive to this as carpooling is always more convenient if you’re within proximity of the other riders.

shakas in the sunset

Everyone’s friends here in the islands. Image Copyright CyberCom, Inc.