As you know, I’ve been without a vehicle for 5 years or so now. I got rid of my beloved jeep before moving to Key West and have been relying on the bus, bicycles, and my own two feet to get around. It has saved me a ton of money and given me a lot of experience in navigating mass transit. So, when I decided to make the voyage out here to the middle of the Pacific, one of the first things I looked at was the ability to get around this island without the need for a vehicle.
As it happens, there are a lot vehicles on Maui. Traffic is quite heavy for a small island and there are more than a few roads along with all the problems one would expect from a lot of traffic in a small area. Wrecks are common, landslides from storms close off roads, and fuel is expensive. Roughly a dollar more a gallon than on the mainland from what I have seen.
I prefer not to own a vehicle as of yet although owning said vehicle does have some advantages. Not the least of which is the ability to find a place to live off the beaten path, away from towns and back in the woods or up on the mountains. Many of these places are more cheaper, being off the grid, but without a vehicle, it’s damn near impossible to get to any stores or other areas unless one wants to walk or bike a long way. So, rather than go through the added expense of purchasing a vehicle, I stuck to areas which were close to what I needed or near the mass transit system.
Maui has an excellent bus system on the island. It’s pretty easy to get around to all the main parts of the island in a short amount of time. The bus is a tad more expensive than Key West, $2 for a one way fare, but there are provisions for day passes at $4 giving you unlimited rides for the day, and one can purchase monthly passes also ranging from $25 to $40. The busses are clean, quiet, and seem to run on time. Most any place you are on the route you will have no more than an hour wait for the next bus. Most of the routes meet at the central stop at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center which is just a big shopping mall. From there you can catch any of the other routes to other places on the island.
One handy thing to have when utilizing said bus system is this app…TransLocRider. It’s free and has many other city bus systems it can access. What the app does is pinpoint where you are, shows all the stops, and if you tap on a stop, it will tell you when the next bus is due. Very handy. It also gives alerts if there are delays, and other info. The app is a must have to help navigate the bus system, but overall, the Maui bus is not complicated. I’ve used it a lot in just the first few days I have been here.
Bicycling is very popular here. There are bike paths all over the place and plenty of resources to rent or buy a two wheeler. I may consider getting back on one later but I suspect gravity here is just as unforgiving as it was in Key West. The terrain is also a bit hilly so a single speed won’t do the trick.
Walking is no problem if you are close to where you want to go. The sidewalks are all well marked along with crosswalks. It was here I found out something rather amazing. Many of the crosswalks have buttons which you can push. Pushing said buttons lights up signs signaling pedestrians wish to cross, and lo and behold, drivers actually stop and let them cross. I even had drivers stop and let me cross at crosswalks without said lights. Compare this to Florida where drivers will actually aim for you if they see you trying to cross a street. In fact, I have seen no instances of road rage. Drivers are just plain polite and don’t seem to be in any hurry to get anywhere. Can’t hardly blame them. But the the pedestrian vs vehicle issues are way more better out here than anywhere I’ve ever been. It’s very refreshing.
For now, where I am staying, the bus and walking will do just fine. I am close enough to most of the shopping I can walk, and the bus stop is just a block away if I want to ride. A jeep would be an ideal vehicle to own here but not now. Perhaps later if I decide to move inland or off the grid, a vehicle might become a necessity but for the moment, it’s not needed.
A tip to anyone traveling, not just to Hawaii but anyplace. Take some time and get online, and study the mass transit options, be they bus, subway, train, or whatever. Apps like TransLoc made using the Maui bus some much more better. A little research can save you some time and money in the long run. And you’ll have far less worries than if you had to keep a vehicle around.