Yes, you can take the bus (officially known as TheBus) from the Honolulu airport to Waikiki Beach or practically anywhere on the island.
However, you won’t want to. Trust us on this one. In fact, many of our return customers first tried their hand on the transit system, only to realize this was something they’d never do again. Some people just have to find out for themselves we suppose. But today, we hope to save some of you from an unfortunate way to be first introduced to our otherwise beautiful island.
Consider this article as a public service announcement for welcome visitors who are considering using local transit to get to their hotel or vacation rental from HNL.
5 Reasons Why You Should Not Take Public Transit to Get from Honolulu International Airport to Waikiki Beach or Other Oahu Destination
1. They Won’t Let Luggage On
The first reason will disqualify TheBus for most of you from the get-go. TheBus does not permit luggage because there is no room to store it without taking away seats from passengers. But what about those of you who travel light with nothing more than carry-on luggage? Carry-ons are at the discretion of the bus driver. And more often than not, they are not accommodating. If your carry-on even resembles traditional luggage (wheels and pull-out handle, etc.) they won’t let it on. If you have a light backpack or over the shoulder bag, you do have a good shot at getting on, but anything more and you’re out of luck.
2. It Takes Too Long to Get to Your Destination
Assuming the next bus arrives at its HNL stop on time (which is never guaranteed) you’re still at the mercy of Honolulu’s notorious Nimitz Highway traffic. Then there are all of the stops along the way. Heading from HNL to one of the hotels in Waikiki? You’re looking at a minimum of 33 stops that can get dinged en route, and when traveling between 7 AM and 9 PM you’re going to be stopping at nearly every one. If your hotel is deeper into Waikiki Beach, that drag beginning from Ala Moana BLVD and Kalakaua through to Kuhio Avenue can feel like a lifetime, especially if you’re excited about getting to where you’re going.
There’s a general rule of thumb to follow here. If Google Maps tells you that the bus will take x-amount of time to get from HNL to your hotel by TheBus, add another 15-minutes to that tally. Right now, as we pen this article, it’s 5:49 PM on Saturday and Google Maps is telling us that taking TheBus from HNL to the famed Circle Hotel in Waikiki is 1 hr 1 min on the #20. So really, you’d be looking at 1 hr 16-minutes to get to the hotel. That’s a serious waste of valuable time.
Not in a rush? Well, there’s more. Keep reading.
3. You’ll Meet Some Interesting Characters (and that’s not always a good thing)
TheBus is safe, so you don’t have to worry about that. It is Hawaii after all. But there are some interesting characters that frequent TheBus, and they are more than willing to strike up an alcohol (and other) infused conversation with newly arrived travelers. Hygiene is not always a top priority either, so if you were bothered by the bad breath of the person sitting beside you in coach on your flight over to the island, we suggest skipping the exponentially worse experience on TheBus.
4. It’s Too Hot, or Too Cold
They just can’t seem to get the temperature right on TheBus. Seriously, it’s either way too hot and humid or it’s ice cold. If you get stuck in the rear with your back pressed to the backseat you’ll find you can fry an egg on that thing. But ten feet forward and you’re shivering. After a 6 to 12 hour flight, the last thing you want to expose yourself to is an uncomfortable temperature that can have you coming down with a bug at the start of your trip.
5. Not the Way to Arrive in Paradise
All of the above leads to one inevitable conclusion – public transit is not how you want to arrive in paradise. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or fifteenth time on the island, you’re coming here for an aloha-filled experience, and while that can be found practically anywhere on Oahu, TheBus isn’t one of them.
Wouldn’t you rather be whisked away to your hotel, resort, or rental with your window rolled down to feel the fresh island breeze, or rolled up in A/C comfort? Wouldn’t you rather maximize your time with your feet in the sand and not stuck in a mobile sardine can? Wouldn’t you prefer the personal touch of a local driver who is there to take care of your transportation needs? It may seem like a sales pitch, but when you consider that you can get from HNL to Waikiki for just $35 (flat rate), the opportunity cost not to is just too great.
Wherever you may be headed to on the island, Honolulu Airport Transfer is a much better alternative than public transit. View all of our rates here, and feel free to contact us anytime at 1-800-929-1219 with any questions whatsoever, or complete the form here to book your reservation.