Riding the Bus

The Department provides bus service in neighborhoods around the islands to ensure broad access to educational opportunity for Hawaii’s students. Learn more about price, eligibility, free bus pass information, and download ridership application forms. The DOE serves about 15,000 student riders on Oahu, 18,000 on the neighbor islands.


Get On Board Hotline
808-586-0161
Fall semester begins Aug. 7, 2017.  Call the Get On Board Hotline for any school bus registration, route and service concerns, MON-FRI from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rates

​The flat rates for student bus passes are:

  • Annual Round Trip: $270
  • Annual One Way: $135
  • Quarterly Round Trip: $72
  • Quarterly One Way: $36
  • One-way bus coupons are sold by sheets of 10 at $12.50 per sheet

View the application and handbook for details. Payment will only be accepted after the school approves the application. Once approved, remit payment either in person or by mail at the school office (please do not mail in cash payments). All payments are due prior to the first day of using the bus service. Accepted payment includes cash, cashier’s check and money order (made payable to The Department of Education). Schools may also include personal checks; but please call your school to confirm.

Routes​

Information regarding bus routes, numbers, bus stop locations and pick up times can be obtained by calling the school directly. Parents/caregivers will need to provide the name of the student and the student's home address. Contact your school for details.

Eligibility

Students in Grades K-5 must reside a mile or more, and students in Grades 6-12 must reside 1.5 miles or more, from the school within their attendance area to qualify for regular school bus service. Students who do not qualify for regular bus service may receive “space available” bus service provided that there are unused seats on the bus and that the accommodation will not result in additional cost to the state.

Parents can apply for space available bus service by completing the “Space Available Basis” form (also found at school offices) along with the completed bus pass application form located in the attached School Bus Handbook. Please submit both forms to the school office. The approval process may take four or more weeks. Students will not be permitted to ride the bus until the application is approved, so parents should plan accordingly. 

Free Bus Pass

​Students who meet one or more of the following criteria may receive a free bus pass. Please complete Part 3 of the application form if you believe your child is eligible for a free bus pass, and check all applicable criteria categories:

  • Student qualifies for the free lunch program (Note: Students who qualify for reduced lunch prices are not eligible for a free bus pass)
  • Student is a foster child
  • Student is homeless (McKinney-Vento eligible​)
  • Student’s Special Education plan includes regular transportation as a related service
  • Student is directed by the District to attend a school outside of the designated attendance area
  • Student has three older siblings who are fare-paying bus rider

Operations​

The Hawaii State Department of Education's Student Transportation Services Branch handles tens of thousands of bus riders each school day.

Daily student ridership average:

  • Regular education students = 35,090 per day
  • Special education students = 3,359 per day

​​​​​Total     = 38,449 per day

Daily vehicle logistics:

  • Regular education buses = 390 units per day; up to 780 bus trips per day
  • Special education buses = 262 units per day; about 262 bus trips per day

​​​Total = 652 units per day; about 1042 bus trips per day​

​'Get on Board' initiative

The "Get on Board" initiative is a multi-year, multi-phased commitment by the Department to transform the operations, management and delivery of student transportation within the Hawaii DOE. The major components of the Get on Board initi​ative are:

  • Changing its contract procurement methodology to increase competition within the school bus market;
  • Changing the terms and conditions of its bus contract agreements to restore controls to the department;
  • Engaging the use of modern technology to improve service, safety and efficiency. Technology advances include geocoded locations of students and schools, automated bus routing and bus stop locator software, GPS tracking devices, video surveillance cameras on school buses, and web-based central repositories for school bus related data; and
  • Implementation of a contract performance management program to improve management and oversight of bus contractor activity

Get On Board kicked off in 2013 with a pilot program on Oahu involving 32 schools in the Aiea, Moanalua​​, Pearl City, Radford and Waipahu complexes. Phase 2 expanded the Get on Board program to include all Oahu island schools at the start of the 2014-2015 school year. Get on Board is now in its inaugural year at all schools on the Big Island and Molokai. Maui and Kauai will follow when the department procures new bus contract agreements beginning the 2017-2018 school year. 

Get on Board was born after more than 100 bus routes affecting roughly 1200 students statewide were eliminated in 2012 due to rising costs and an unexpected loss of funding. Since then, the department has streamlined services and restored nearly all of the bus routes that were cancelled in 2012. And while the objective for transforming its pupil transportation program was to improve service, safety and efficiency, we're pleased to report that the Get on Board initiative has also substantially reduced the annual cost of school bussing transportation services statewide. ​

Contact Information

James Kauhi

Phone: 808-586-0174

Email: james_kauhi@hawaiidoe.org

Strategic Plan 2017-2020

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