I think about driving the way I think about gin, tomatoes and Nicolas Cage… occasionally enjoyable, but for the most part, no thank you. And since I don’t know how to ride anything with two wheels, that leaves me with three options for getting around: driving, walking, and public transportation.
Since Peter and I share a car and he has to commute twice as far as I do to get to work, I take the bus most days of the week. Also, just to be clear, if given the chance to take public transportation, a bus lives very low on the list, much behind a subway, train or good ole’ fashioned piggy-back ride.
Adventures in Public Transportation: The Maui Edition
As far as convenience, I give the Maui public bus a 7 out of 10. With 13 routes, it goes almost everywhere you’d need or want to go, like highly-trafficked neighborhoods, shops and grocery stores, making it pretty easy to run errands and still get back within walking distance of your house. The two most populated cities on the island, Kahului and Wailuku, even have bus routes that simultaneously loop in opposite directions.
See the full Maui bus schedule online.
On the cost scale, I give the bus an 8 out of 10. For $4 per day or $45 per month, you get unlimited rides on all bus routes. Single rides cost $2 per person and they also offer discounted passes for students ($30/month with valid I.D. and fixed routes), seniors ($25/month if over 55 years old with fixed routes) and persons with disabilities ($30 per month with qualification and fixed routes).
Since gas costs around $4.25 right now, I actually think this is pretty cheap, especially given the fact that it’s Maui and nothing is cheap.
Reliability & Timeliness
As far as reliability and timeliness, the bus gets a 3 out of 10. All bus routes only run once every hour, and for less traveled routes, once every hour and a half. While this isn’t a particularly big problem for tourists (it’s island time, after all), this does cause issues for people who use the bus to get to/from work and have to take more than one bus to do so.
On more than a couple occasions, the bus has been over 45 minutes late, causing me to miss my connecting bus and wait another hour for the next one to come around. What should be a relatively quick 15 mile bus ride (although it still takes me an hour and forty-five minutes to get home every day) then takes me over three hours. Yikes!
Also, since the buses don’t run very often, and especially during busy season, they are packed. I’m pretty sure I’ve come face-to-face with more butt in the last two months than Kanye West.
And on a last and final weird note, some of the most popular bus routes stop running at 7:30 and 8:30pm. Do people magically stop needing to go places after dark?! This doesn’t make sense to me, but then again, it doesn’t have to.
So while the public transportation in Maui is nothing to write home about, it’ll do as long as you’re not in a hurry to get anywhere. If anything, the bus is always a great place to meet people. I’ve met Argentinean friends, gotten job offers, learned how to cook octopus and been told I was going to be a billionaire by a man who believed George Bush was a reptilian. Oh, adventures in public transportation.
Plus, you just can’t beat the view.