For all of Oahu’s various transit woes, you can’t really hate on TheBus. As a shameful loser who doesn’t drive, I am one of many who rely on public transit to get around. Honestly, if you live in town, I really don’t think driving is all that necessary. Metropolitan Honolulu is saturated with buses, so it’s a lot easier to walk to a bus stop than it is to worry about parking.
Still, catching the bus can be intimidating. Whenever I have to learn a new route from home to work or to the mall or wherever, I always spend the first few tries getting off at the wrong stop or missing my bus altogether. Eventually I get it down. It’s always a process.
The City and County has developed a few technological tools to help riders out, but they may not be the most reliable.
DaBus — The Oahu Bus App
Yes, there is an official city bus app, but I actually would not recommend it. For one, you all know I hate app clutter on my phone. But more importantly, the app doesn’t really help you all that much.
Perplexingly, it is built around bus stops, not bus routes, as you might expect. It isn’t very intuitive when it comes to the No. 1 rider question of “how do I get from point A to point B?”
It is very helpful when you’re already at a stop and just curious as to when the next bus is scheduled to come, though.
The app also claims to offer approximate real-time bus arrivals and departures — by far the most valuable service any bus app possibly could offer — but all I get is an error message that says “Data not available” whenever I try it. If you glance at the recent reviews, this seems to be a very common problem.
Luckily, there’s an easier way to get this information …
If you need to know when the next bus is arriving at your stop, just open your browser and head to this minimalistic website. Plug in the bus stop number (usually located on the sign that lists the routes that pass through there) or the street names, and boom: You get an up-to-date list of all the upcoming buses with estimated arrival times. It’s very convenient — much more convenient (and reliable) than downloading the app.
You may think I’m being facetious here, but even TheBus recommends that you just head to Google to plan out your travel schedule. (A message stating this plays on a recorded loop every 20 minutes or so on the bus, if you don’t believe me.) And hey, you know what, it really does work. Plug in your starting point and destination, note that you want to get there by bus, and boom, Google lays out all the possible options. It’s on point most of the time, though Google has occasionally waylaid me on state holidays with inaccurate schedules.
So, next time you have to catch the bus somewhere, be smart and just Google it.
Editor’s Note: Staff writer Paige Takeya is temporarily filling in for Christa Wittmier. Follow Paige on Twitter @lordmayocloud. Christa’s SuperTech column will return shortly.