Bus travel can result in a variety of experiences, such as interesting encounters with strangers or wrong turns, according to BYU-Hawaii students. Some said the bus is reliable, but with more awareness and preparedness, bus travel can be a positive option.
“I quite enjoy the bus,” said Sadie Scadden, a freshman from California studying graphic design. “I’ve made a couple really fun connections with people on board and I’ve gotten to experience parts of the island I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. Part of it is a sense of independence and adventure. Even though I don’t have a car, I know I can still go anywhere I want with relative ease. It is generally reliable and safe, and my go-to for an impromptu adventure.
“I take the bus about once a week. Google Maps is the only app I trust for bus directions. The transit directions give a comprehensive bus plan including transfers, walking directions, up to date arrival times, including delays.”
Some students, such as Rebekah Ollis, a freshman from Hawaii studying international peace building, said she doesn’t like the bus. “I take the bus at least twice a month. I know the bus to take because I Google it. Yes, I trust [Google], but I don’t at all trust when they will arrive. The schedules are very inconsistent. The bus always smells weird, and I have this really irritating knack for attracting the attention of crazy people. But other than that, they’re not that bad. Just try not to go alone. “
Michelle Bacera, a freshman from California studying graphic design, said, “I was a little skeptical of the bus when I first moved here because I had never used public transportation before, but now I even enjoy taking the bus sometimes. I take the bus once or twice a month. I just remember we are on the 55 route, but I also have DaBus2 app that automatically finds the bus route closest to you with the GPS tracking, and I trust it.”
While Bacera was waiting at a bus stop with a group of friends, “this skinny dude in a bright pink crop top introduced himself to us as Liz. We had polite conversation and the RMs in our group obviously bring up the church.
“Long story short, he used to be in the church, but things happened and now he is homeless and practices Wiccan magic. The rest of our group got freaked out, but I’m honestly intrigued, so I asked more about it and eventually he offers to make me a Wiccan charm, and I accept. They go through the whole process of feeling the vibes of crystals, burning an incense stick, and marking the correct rune on the parchment with the char of the stick.
“Crazy stuff. I end up just sticking the charm in my phone case and accidentally keeping it there for a month. Thankfully nothing weird happened, so I guess it was all good in the end.”
He reeked of cigarette smoke and seemed a little jumpy
Ollis shared an experience she had when she was riding home from Honolulu. “A guy got on the bus and sat next to me. He wouldn’t stop talking to me and flirting. Eventually he asked for my number, and in that moment, I was so glad that I didn’t have a phone.
“As the conversation continued, he casually dropped that he has schizophrenia. Then he gave me his number and told me to call him before the end of the week. I was so relieved when he got off.”
Wrong way, dead phone
Sadie Scadden, a freshman from California studying graphic design, said, “One of the scariest single moments of my life happened on my solo bus trip home from Waimanalo Beach. The 55 runs from Haleiwa to Ala Moana Center, so to get back to Waimanalo, I had to transfer onto the Kailua bus, and then back onto the 55 to get home.
“As the sun was setting, I was sitting at my transfer stop waiting for the 55. A bus pulled up at the same time Google Maps told me the 55 would be coming, so I climbed on without looking at the bus number, expecting to head up the North Shore. After about 10 minutes, I checked in with the map and saw that instead of winding our way up Kamehameha, we were swallowed up in the suburban streets of Kaneohe.
“I timidly asked the people around me where the bus was headed and found out it was just making a giant loop back to where we had come from. Slightly panicked, I started to try and find the best way home only to have my searching halted when the last of my cell phone battery drained, leaving me with only the guidance of the people around me to get me home.
“I built up the confidence to ask the bus driver for help only to receive a bristly reply about checking the bus number before getting on. He told me I would have to wait until the bus route finished and get off where I had gotten on. I sat back down and told myself I’d be okay. One by one, all the passengers got off until I was the last rider on the bus. The driver pulled over for his 6 minute McDonald’s break, and I was left completely alone on the side of the road. I said a little prayer and put my trust into fate that I’d get back to Laie somehow.
“I guess God took some pity on me, because the bus driver was a lot more understanding when he got back, and he explained to me where I should get off to catch the 55. I hopped off per his directions and finally made it back home safely.
“It was scary, but because of what I learned from that experience, I feel way more confident getting where I need to go on the bus, and I was blessed to meet some really amazing people who guided and kept me safe along the way.”
North Shore bus travel is simple, according to Scadden, “because there is only one bus, the 55. As long as you take it going the right direction and make sure to listen for your stop, it’s pretty difficult to get lost. However, in town, where there are multiple buses on multiple routes, it is critical to check the number of the bus before getting on, even if it comes at the time Google Maps said your bus was coming. That is the best way to prevent getting lost.
“Bring exact change: $2.75 for one way, $5.50 for an all-day pass. Tell the driver you want an all-day pass if you are going to need it. Bring a portable charger. Write down bus numbers/names and bus stops before riding. Be aware of the people you choose to sit with. Sit closer to the driver if you feel uncomfortable. Ride with a friend whenever possible, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.”
“If you get lost, or don’t know where you’re going, talk to the bus drivers,” advised Ollis. “They may not always be super friendly, but they are usually pretty good at helping.”
It helps to be prepared for adventure, counseled Bacera. “The most important thing to remember about the bus is it could come as early as 15 minutes, so be prepared to arrive early.” •