The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) is continuing its efforts in expanding 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 10,000 students statewide applied for the program, with the majority of applicants on Oʻahu.
Students with an active HIDOE student ID number may sign up for a free county bus pass online. The application period will end April 1, 2024. County bus passes will be valid for use from Aug. 1, 2023 - May 31, 2024.
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 or vice versa. Please choose the right option for your student as they cannot change their pass type until the following quarter.
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: Fill out and submit the online application. (Applications will be available through May 31, 2024)
Step 3: 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 Kauaʻi/Maui/Hawaiʻi county: Passes will be distributed to the schools as soon as possible. Have your student visit the school office to pick up their pass when prompted.
For Oʻahu: For the 2023-24 school year, the Department has partnered with the City & County of Honolulu, Department of Transportation Services (DTS) and print supply vendor, Gebco, to provide student ID cards to all Oʻahu high schools. These new student IDs will have the HOLO chip built in so the student ID will function as their HOLO card for TheBus and Skyline. Once the online application is completed, it will take between 3-5 business days for the ID to be activated and able to use. Please refer to the FAQ section for more information.
Due to the ongoing bus driver shortage, some Oʻahu high schools will transition to using only EXPRESS as its sole transportation option for regular education students.
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
Walking to a Bus Stop
- 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.
Lost or Stolen IDs (for Oahu students)
- 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.
How do I find out what route and bus stop to use?
- Please go to your school office and request a replacement ID.
- Go online at https://iportal.k12.hi.us/express/updateholonumber (this link will be live on Aug. 1, 2023).
- Update your application with your new HOLO number and security code.
- Please allow 5-7 business days for your replacement ID to be active for use.