Is it necessary to rent a car on Kauai? The answer to that depends on what you expect to get out of your trip. Extended evening bus schedules and pickup/drop off shuttle routes to Lihue airport now make it possible to actually look all around instead of keeping eyes on the road. For us, the use of a family member’s extra set of wheels is never a problem, yet this time we were intent on not turning a key in the ignition. I’m aware of those who practice reducing their carbon footprint when exploring the globe, but for MotH and myself it was all about seeing the island at a relaxed pace. Kauai was made to lay low and live slow, and with a little extra planning it is possible to forgo rented wheels.
To be completely honest, we did use the car twice: once to get to a beer tasting, then back to a luau in record time, and once for a good laugh while topping up the gas tank. At $8/gallon in Italy compared to $3.49 in Hawaii, it’s never a laughing matter for us. The rest of the time we used our $25 monthly pass (purchased at the Lihue Civic Center) which is a great deal since rides on the main line are $2 every time you board. Here are some of our observations while on The Kauai Bus.
1.) Riders greet the driver with a pleasant good morning when they board the bus. We’ve specifically witnessed this daily from the Kekaha to Lihue route, and on several occasions someone would also send a smile and “good morning” our way. Is that aloha spirit or what?!
2.) If a passenger utters a good morning you can bet they’ll say goodbye and thank you when they get off at their destination. This also applies to visitors who have figured out the system and maybe even go one step further, testing their hawaiian with a mahalo instead.
3.) Bus drivers are also addressed as “auntie” or “uncle” by young people. Honestly! This teenaged kid hopped on for a second to ask for some info and I heard him say uncle even if by the non-reaction from the driver there was no way they could be related.
4.) Hardly anyone signals the intent to stop because the bus will stop at all pre-determined points no matter what. Some drivers will also call out the name of the bus stop. We were on the Koloa shuttle that does a loop run through Koloa/Poipu and the lovely hawaiian driver duly stopped at all points and called out the names even if we were the only passengers with her. She was so sweet when she quipped “I guess you’ve got the bus all to yourselves today!”
5.) Kauai bus riders are friendly folk, atleast on the westside they are not afraid to open up. Someone will almost always start a small conversation when you’re waiting and for the most part I believe it’s simply out of polite curiosity. Small island, small town, small talk; drivers without sour attitudes; one less car clogging up the island’s 2-lane highway; watching the world go by one town at a time. Holomua Kauai Me Ke Aloha – moving Kauai with aloha.