Getting around by bus is an affordable option on Oahu, particularly in the most heavily touristed areas of Waikiki. In addition to TheBus and the Waikiki Trolley, Waikiki has brightly painted private buses, many of them free, that shuttle you to such commercial attractions as dinner cruises, garment factories, and the like.
You can travel around the island or just down Kalakaua Avenue for $2.50 on Honolulu's municipal transportation system, affectionately known as TheBus. It's one of the island's best bargains. Buses make stops in Waikiki every 10 to 15 minutes to take passengers to nearby shopping areas.
You're entitled to one free transfer, so ask for one when boarding. Exact change is required, and dollar bills are accepted. A four-day pass for visitors costs $35 and is available at ABC convenience stores in Waikiki, in the Ala Moana Shopping Center, and at the Kalakaua and Kapiolani 7-Eleven locations. Monthly passes cost $60.
The company's website has timetables, route maps, and real-time bus tracking, or you can download the free DaBus app for your smartphone. You also can find privately published booklets at most drugstores and other convenience outlets. The important route numbers for Waikiki are 2, 4, 8, 13, 19, 20, 22–24 and 42.
The Waikiki Trolley has three lines and dozens of stops that allow you to plan your own itinerary while riding on brass-trimmed, open-air buses that look like trolleys. The Historic Honolulu Sightseeing Tour (Red Line) travels between Waikiki and Chinatown and includes stops at the State Capitol, Iolani Palace, and the King Kamehameha statue. The Waikiki/Ala Moana Shopping Shuttle (Pink Line) runs from the DFS Galleria Waikiki to Hard Rock Cafe and back, stopping at various Waikiki locations and the Ala Moana Center. The Scenic Diamond Head Sightseeing Tour runs through Waikiki and down around Diamond Head. There's also a south shore coastline tour; a one-day pass costs $20 to $34, four-day passes are $59 to $67, and seven-day passes are $75. All passes are discounted when purchased in advance.
TheBus. 808/848–5555; www.thebus.org.
Waikiki Trolley. 808/593–2822; www.waikikitrolley.com.
Maui Bus, operated by the tour company Roberts Hawaii, offers 13 routes in and between various Central, South, and West Maui communities. You can travel in and around Wailuku, Kahului, Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua, Kihei, Wailea, Maalaea, the North Shore (Paia), and Upcountry (including Kula, Pukalani, Makawao, Haliimaile, and Haiku). The Upcountry and Haiku Islander routes include a stop at Kahului Airport. All routes cost $2 per boarding.
Maui Bus. 808/871–4838; www.mauicounty.gov/bus.
Travelers can take advantage of the affordable Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency's Hele-On Bus, which travels several routes throughout the island. Mostly serving local commuters, the Hele-On Bus costs $2 per person (students and senior citizens pay $1). Just wait at a scheduled stop and flag down the bus. A one-way journey between Hilo and Kona takes about four hours. There's regular service in and around downtown Hilo, Kailua-Kona, Waimea, North and South Kohala, Honokaa, and Pahoa.
Visitors staying in Hilo can take advantage of the Transit Agency's Shared Ride Taxi program, which provides door-to-door transportation in the area. A one-way fare is $2, and a book of 15 coupons can be purchased for $30. Visitors to Kona can also take advantage of free trolleys operated by local shopping centers.
Hele-On Bus. Hawaii. 808/961–8744; www.heleonbus.org.
On Kauai, the County Transportation Agency operates the Kauai Bus, which provides service between Hanalei and Kekaha. It also provides limited service to the airport and to Koloa and Poipu. The fare is $2 for adults, and frequent-rider passes are available.
Kauai Bus. 808/246--8110; www.kauai.com/kauai-bus.