Double decker Aloha Bus // © 2011 Polynesian Adventure Tours/Gray Line Hawaii
While double-decker tour buses can be found in cities around the world, the new open-top version that recently rolled into Waikiki is like none other.
Called the Aloha Bus, it’s a fleet of seven brightly-colored island-themed double-deckers decorated with colorful images of Hawaii icons. Clients can ride them during scheduled roundtrip sightseeing tours, from Waikiki Beach to downtown Honolulu, with added transfers to attractions beyond.
The Aloha Bus is operated by Polynesian Adventure Tours/Gray Line Hawaii. Routes are designed to allow clients to hop on or off at any of the scheduled stops to dine, shop and view cultural and historic sites.
“The double-deckers are not just a mode of transportation, they are a visitor activity in themselves,” said Polynesian Adventure Tours/Gray Line Hawaii president Colin Murphy. “You get to travel in high style, enjoying the sunshine, trade winds and scenic views of Oahu, while seeing the sights and learning about local culture and history. A stay in Waikiki would not be complete without taking a ride.”
According to Murphy, the company has invested more than $3 million in the new buses and is hiring 60 new employees, including sales and service support staff, bus drivers and aloha ambassadors who interact with passengers.
Tour narrations are provided in English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Spanish via individual passenger headphones. Descriptions of points of interest are GPS-activated as the bus passes cultural and historical sites as well as shops and restaurants.
During the day, the double-decker buses follow what is dubbed the “historic” route. It takes passengers through Waikiki towards downtown Honolulu and stops at Ala Moana Center, Ward Warehouse, Academy of Arts, Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha Statue, Chinatown, Aloha Tower and Hilo Hattie’s.
From Hilo Hattie’s, passengers can transfer to a regular Polynesian Adventure Tour bus for a roundtrip excursion to Pearl Harbor, Aloha Stadium and Bishop Museum.
The night loop schedule goes into effect at 5:30 p.m. The bus makes a loop through popular shopping and dining areas beginning and ending at the Ilikai Hotel.
The buses seat up to 61 passengers, with 51 seats in the upper deck and 10 seats at street level. A stairway to the upper deck is located in the midsection of the bus. Each bus can be lowered to the curb, making it easier for seniors and customers with disabilities to board and exit. There are also two wheelchair stations per vehicle.
Tickets are $40 per person for one day, $50 for two days and $60 for three days. Travel agents who book clients on an Aloha Bus tour receive commissions based on sales volume.