EXPRESS County Bus Pass Program

20-Jul-2023

​The EXPRESS County Bus Pass Program will open and accept applications from JULY 15, 2024 - MAY 18, 2025.

Photo of EXPRESS program logo.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (Department) is continuing its efforts in subsidized county bus passes for high schoolers in grades 9-12 with the four counties. The program — called EXPRESS, which stands for Expanding Ridership to Educate Students in Schools — was piloted in the 2022-23 school year to help mitigate the impacts of the ongoing national school bus driver shortage. Last school year, over 18,000 students statewide applied for the program, with the majority of applicants on Oahu.

Starting school year 2024-2025, student transportation eligibility requirements as per Hawaiʻi Administrative Rule § 8-27-5 will be part of the qualifications for EXPRESS pass holders.  Please see updates below:

IMPORTANT ELIGIBILITY UPDATES FOR FREE COUNTY PASS APPLICANTS:

-HIDOE student attending grades 9-12; and

-Student must attend their home school; and

-Student must reside 1.5 miles or more from school in their public school attendance area.

The application period will be open on July 15, 2024 and will close on May 18, 2025.

If your student is special needs and has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Modified Plan (MP) that includes transportation as a related service, please call your District Educational Specialist (DES) for more information.

Application Instructions

HIDOE students may only use one (1) transportation option at a time.  If a student has an existing regular school bus pass, they will have to discontinue this service if they choose to apply for an EXPRESS pass.  EXPRESS applications will be approved on an annual basis.  Please choose the right option for your student as they cannot change their pass type for the remainder of the year. 

Step 1: Check the respective island transit office website for route information and identify the bus route(s), times, and locations with your student. Please see the bottom of this page for the county transportation office contact information.

Step 2: Check your high school student’s transportation eligibility:

  • Check the distance from your student’s listed home address (as recorded in Infinite Campus) to home school.  
  • If the distance is 1.5 miles or more and your student is not attending school on a GE, then your student qualifies for a free EXPRESS pass
Step 3: Fill out an online application here (Applications will be available until May 18, 2025). Transportation eligibility will be determined by the home and school location in Infinite Campus. You will be notified during this process if your student is approved for an EXPRESS pass.

Step 4: Upon application submission, passes will be available for pick up at your school office within 7-14 business days.

Step 5:  Identify and practice safe walking routes to/from the bus stops at home and at the school. Refer to the public transportation safety information below.

For Kaua‘i: Upon application approval and submission, school staff will notify students when Kaua‘i Bus monthly passes are available for pick up at the office.

For Oahu: Upon application approval and submission, HOLO cards will be sent to the school office for distribution.  

Please note that the HOLO ID cards used during school year 2023-2024 are invalid for use on TheBus after May 31, 2024.

For Maui only: The Maui Bus Fixed Route service currently allows students with a valid ID ages 24 years and younger to ride for free. Students shall present their valid ID to the driver upon entering the fixed route bus.

For Hawaii Island only: Hele-On county bus transportation is currently fare free until December 2025. No passes are available for distribution. Please check the EXPRESS website for links to their respective county transportation office sites for more information on routes and times.

For families that do not meet the transportation eligibility criteria listed above, please see applicable links to your county’s bus agencies for more information on purchasing a youth pass.  More information is available below.

Kauai
Rider Rules/Safety Information: https://www.kauai.gov/Government/Departments-Agencies/Transportation/Carry-On-Items-Prohibited-Activities 
Phone Number: 808-246-8110
Download the new Kauai Bus Tracker online app

Oahu
Website:  www.thebus.org
To Purchase a Youth HOLO card: https://www.thebus.org/Fare/YouthFare_submitFormNew.asp 
Bus Schedules: www.thebus.org/Route/Routes.asp
Plan Your Trip: www.thebus.org/PlanYourTrip.asp
Rider Rules/Safety Information: https://www.thebus.org/howtoride/RulesReg.asp?l=
Phone Number:  808-768-4656 (HOLO)
Phone Number:  808-848-5555, ext 5 (TheBus Customer Service)
Email:  info@holocard.net
Download the app - HEA-TheBus
TheBus New

Maui
Website: https://www.mauicounty.gov/bus
Bus Tracking: https://mauibus.org/
Rider Rules/Safety Information:  https://www.mauicounty.gov/606/Bus-Rules
Phone Number: 808-871-7651
Email:  public.transit@mauicounty.gov
Download the app - mauibus.org

Hawaii Island
Website:  www.heleonbus.org
Bus Schedules: www.heleonbus.hawaiicounty.gov/getting-around/bus-schedules-and-maps
Rider Rules/Safety Information: https://www.heleonbus.hawaiicounty.gov/getting-around/riding-on-hele-on-buses
Phone Number:  808-961-8744, option 1
Email:  heleonbus@hawaiicounty.gov

How do I find out what route and bus stop to use?

Please contact the island specific county transportation office customer service using the contact information provided above.

Public Transportation Safety Information

Families are encouraged to read the safety information regarding riding the bus and walking to a bus stop. Please discuss this important information with your student(s). 

Riding the Bus

  • Get to the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

  • When the bus approaches, stand at least 6 feet away from the curb.

  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, be sure to use a pedestrian crosswalk.  

  • When exiting the bus, be careful that loose clothing or clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.

  • Never walk behind the bus.

  • After you get off the bus, walk at least 10 feet away from the side of the bus.

  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver.  Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

  • Students on the bus should be courteous to the driver and other riders on board. Talk quietly and follow the driver’s instructions. Always use headphones when listening to music or watching videos on the bus. 

  • Know your home address, a parent/guardian phone number, another phone number of a trusted adult, and how to use 911 for emergencies.

Walking to a Bus Stop

  • Plan a walking route to the bus stop.  Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and use intersections with designated crosswalks.  Test the route.  Stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields, and other places where there aren’t many people around.

  • Always look left, then right, then left again before crossing a street and allow enough time to cross the street safely.

  • Do not talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers.

For lost or stolen HOLO cards (Oahu only): 

  • Apply for the replacement card online here - TheBus-HOLO.

  • Your replacement HOLO card will be mailed to the address provided in 5-7 business days.

  • Once the card arrives, call the HOLO helpline to activate the replacement card 808-768-4656.

Questions?

If you have a question, please read these Frequently Asked Questions before reaching out for assistance. If the FAQ does not address your question, please email stsb@k12.hi.us. Please note responses may take time depending on the volume of questions received.

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