Kamehameha Schools
Operations Support Division
Transportation Department

Transportation Bus Service Guidelines

The commuter bus application for School Year 2022/2023 will open on May 1, 2022. Open enrollment for bus service is May 1st - May 20th, 2022. You may still apply for commuter bus service after the May 20th close date; however your child may be waitlisted based on seating availability. If you have any questions, please contact the Transportation Department at 842-8329. 

 Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus operates a fleet of buses to transport students to/from various rural areas on school days. The application for commuter bus service for School Year 2022/2023 is available online, through the Transportation website.  Available routes are listed within the Parent Handbook, which can be accessed via the link below.  If you do not reside in an outlying area and do not see your area listed as a service area, bus service may not be available. Applications received after the deadline date may be placed on a waitlist and filled if/as space becomes available. There is a NON-REFUNDABLE ANNUAL SERVICE FEE for bus service.  Effective School Year 2022/2023, the non-refundable annual service fee for round-trip commuter service is $1,572.00 and the annual service fee for one-way commuter service is $786.00.

School Bus Transportation Policies

School Bus Procedures

  1. Students and/or their parent/guardian must submit an application and acknowledge to agree to abide by the policies and procedures as set forth in the Student and Parent Handbook
  2. The Transportation Manager or designee shall establish criteria for the awarding of bus service which may consider various factors, as appropriate.
  3. Students awarded bus service will be issued a bus pass and will be required to scan their bus pass when boarding and exiting the bus for daily commuter routes. This bus pass will be separate from the student's KS ID card and is required for the student to utilize commuter bus service.
  4. Replacement of lost student bus passes will be a charge of $10.00 assessed to the student account.
  5. Bus passes are non-transferable.  Students allowing others to use their pass to board will be subject to disciplinary action and may be removed from the bus roster which may result in the revocation of bus privileges.
  6. Any lost and/or found items left on the bus will be turned into the Transportation Office. After 30 days, unclaimed items will be taken to the Thrift Shop located at the KS Bus Terminal on School and Kapālama Street or discarded if rejected by the Thrift Shop.
  7. Please be on time at the designated school bus stop in order to keep the bus on schedule. Please do not litter the areas or create any hazardous or dangerous conditions for our buses and children by driving unsafely or arriving late to the bus stop. Please be considerate of surrounding businesses and their customers. Any inappropriate behavior at our commuter bus stops by parents/guardians or students could result in revocation of bus privilege.
  8. Any status changes, or if your child will not require bus service, please inform the Transportation Department in writing and addressed to:

Kamehameha Schools
Transportation Department
1887 Makuakane Street
Honolulu, HI 96817   

Transportation Bus Service Guidelines


This document has been created for all Kamehameha Schools (KS) parents, students, groups, and other bus service users as an informative point of reference that will clarify the mission, priorities, and operational procedures that serve as guidelines for the KS Transportation Department, Kapālama Campus. It is recommended that all persons utilizing KS bus service familiarize themselves with the information presented here so that they might have a better understanding of how the Transportation Department can best service their needs.

Transportation Mission

The Mission of the Transportation Department is to help fulfill Pauahi’s Mission by providing safe, efficient, and cost-effective transportation services for all of our Kamehameha students, faculty, and staff.

Transportation Department Priorities

Student safety is the Transportation Department’s number one priority. All department policies, procedures, and daily practices are ultimately developed and implemented with the safety of students in mind. Although there are inherent dangers associated with school bus transportation that cannot be controlled, we strive to minimize the danger to students through regular driver training, compliance with State/Federal requirements, and the expectation of safe behavior practices on the part of parents, students, and staff/groups utilizing KS bus service.
Accommodating Transportation Requests and meeting scheduled time commitments are the department’s second priority. These are both important aspects of Transportation’s bus service and both are equally dependent on the other in helping Transportation to be successful in meeting this priority. In order to keep transportation costs as low as possible for requesting staff/groups, we try to service as many transportation requests as we can with KS buses. This commitment requires that we schedule trips with minimal travel windows in between trips and makes it imperative that buses depart from all trips at the scheduled times. Students, staff, and groups utilizing bus service should always be at departure points promptly as scheduled and not delay bus departures in any way.
Keeping the Department’s day to day operations efficient and within the operating budget is Transportations third priority and the driving force behind many of the initiatives in place geared toward the efficient use of department resources. In order for Transportation to maximize operational efficiencies and minimize any possible waste of KS resources, buses may be combined on one or more commuter routes if actual passenger counts are less than 50% capacity of the bus and the option of consolidating commuter routes does not impact scheduled arrival times to destinations. The Transportation Department strives to be efficient in all operations and will monitor passenger counts regularly in order to reduce operating costs whenever possible.

Types of Bus Service

Commuter Bus Service

The primary kuleana of the Transportation Department is the transportation of students to and from Kapālama Campus for AM and PM commuter bus service during the regular school year.

Field Trips and Athletics

In order to minimize costs to requesting groups and their operating budgets, KS buses will be utilized to provide service for as many field trip and athletic transportation requests as possible. Priority is given to student transportation requests received from groups directly assigned to Kapālama Campus and Outer Island Campuses. KS Extension Education programs, Kawaiaha‘o Plaza, and other groups affiliated with KS will also be provided service as a secondary priority and according to the availability of KS buses and or Charter Buses.

Charter Bus Service

Contract Charter bus services are budgeted annually for a specific number of commuter bus routes for the regular school year. The total number of commuter routes designated to be chartered each year are not specifically set and are determined by the annual number of applications received for commuter bus service.
Typically, charter bus services are utilized for all transportation requests that cannot be accommodated by KS buses. Charter buses will also be utilized in emergency situations when KS buses have broken down or manpower shortages do not allow for coverage with KS buses.
Contract Charter bus service may also be arranged by the Transportation Department for Extension Education programs, groups not directly affiliated with Kamehameha Schools, and or when such arrangements are requested by various KS groups on behalf of non-affiliated groups.

Guidelines for Service

As mentioned above, the Transportation Department is primarily tasked with the safe transportation of students to and from Kapālama Campus for designated AM and PM commuter bus routes during the regular school year. Commuter bus service routes and number of buses assigned are not permanent and may be adjusted each year based upon student demographics as indicated by the annual applications received for commuter bus service.

Bus Counts and Commuter Routes

The KS Transportation Department for Kapālama Campus operates 28 Type I school buses and 5 Type II school buses designated for use in transporting KS students. In addition to these fixed assets, the Transportation budget allows for a specific number of commuter bus routes and other Transportation Requests to be chartered out throughout the school year. The total number of commuter routes designated to be chartered each year are not set and will be determined each year by the annual number of applications received for commuter bus service as well as the annual approved campus budget.
The number of buses the Transportation Department has in its motor pool is fixed and as new buses are acquired, the older buses are retired and replaced on a one-for-one basis. Based on historical data for passenger ridership, the number of buses Transportation has is sufficient to meet the demand for bus service.
The maximum number of commuter routes Transportation can service utilizing KS buses (Type I buses) is 25 (twenty five) with a maximum of 3 (three) additional routes being chartered. Based on historical data, a total of 28 (twenty-eight) total commuter bus routes are sufficient to meet the demand for commuter bus service from outlying service areas.

Bus Capacity

Bus seating capacity is set by the bus manufacturer and all KS buses are either 90 or 84 passenger (2-3 students to a seat) school buses. For the comfort of students, Transportation will generally assign 2 (two) students to a seat for commuter bus routes on our Type I school buses which essentially reduces bus counts to 60 and 56 (2 students to a bench seat). However, Transportation may assign three students to a seat as needed in order to maximize load counts, provide service for waitlisted students, and the consolidation of routes as needed are met. Transportation will not overload buses, transport students without a seat to sit in, allow students to sit on the floor, or put three students in a seat that do not fit within the confines of the seat.
Please Note: Students are considered to be seated within the confines of the seat if their buttocks are fully on the bottom seat and the majority of their back fits against the backrest. Because tripling up of students is normally limited to KES students, we do not anticipate problems with tripling up of students in the course of a normal commuter route service. However, in the event of bus breakdowns or manpower shortages, the combining of routes may be needed and students will be required to triple up as needed. Although we understand that this will normally not make for the most comfortable ride for the student, it will only be done as needed and we will not overload buses when combining routes. There is no safety issue with combination routes provided we do not exceed the maximum passenger capacity per bus and students are sitting within the confines of the seat.

Minimum Route Capacity

In order to justify bus service for any outlying service area, a minimum count or bus capacity percentage must be met. The minimum number of students needed to justify a commuter bus is 40 (forty) or 70% of a 56 (fifty-six) student bus count. The 56 (fifty-six) count represents the normal student seat counts (2 students to a seat) for our smaller Type I school bus. Transportation will provide commuter buses for service areas based upon this criterion but may combine routes or service areas in order to meet the minimum count for bus service.
Example: The Waiʻanae service area has 200 students applying for AM commuter bus service and 220 students applying for PM bus service. Transportation will assign (three AM commuter buses with a 60 (sixty) passenger capacity (2 students to a seat) and four buses (combination of 60 and or 56 capacity) for PM commuter service.
The three AM buses can take 180 (one hundred eighty) students with 2 students assigned to each seat. If possible we will triple up KES students in order to make room for as many of the 20 (twenty) waitlisted students as possible. Adding a fourth bus would not be an option as 20 (twenty) students would only be 12% of the bus capacity and not meet the 70% or 40 (forty) student minimum to justify an additional bus. However, it might be possible to add a fourth bus and combine it with Nānākuli if the combined number of waitlisted students totaled more than 40 (forty) students or 70% (Note: In order for this combination route scenario to work, the departure times would have to be looked at and arrival times to campus could not be negatively impacted).
The fourth PM commuter bus would be justified due to the 40 (forty) additional students meeting the 70% minimum count. Of course, with the additional open seats, a combination route would be looked at with Nānākuli in order to maximize the load and provide bus service to as many students as possible.
Combination routes will be implemented at the discretion of the Transportation Department and will only be done if the impact to scheduled departure/arrival times and families/bus riders is negligible. The decision to combine routes can be complicated and several logistical aspects must be taken into consideration before taking this course of action.

Outlying Areas

The overall priority for awarding commuter bus service is based on the physical residency of students living in outlying areas of Oahu. Areas outside the 15 (fifteen) mile radius from Kapālama Campus (in all directions) are considered “outlying areas” and the cut off point for awarding commuter bus service. Students living beyond the 15 (fifteen) mile cut off point will be given first priority for bus service. Commuter bus service may still be offered to students residing between 10 (ten) to 15 (fifteen) miles of Kapālama Campus, provided the demand for bus service in the outlying areas allows for additional buses to be reassigned to these areas without additional cost.
The decision whether to provide service to those areas that are less than15 (fifteen) miles from the campus will be made at the sole discretion of the Transportation Department after considering the annual number of bus applications received, availability of buses/resources, number of waitlisted students, and past practice in servicing certain areas. Priority for assigning students will be made by grade level with KES students being given first priority, KMS students second and KHS students third.

Service Areas

Transportation has traditionally serviced 14 (fourteen) commuter service areas with approximately 78 (seventy-eight) subdivisions from all service areas combined. Although 4 (four) service areas are not or only partially within the 15 (fifteen) mile cut off for commuter bus service, we have managed to continue to provide commuter bus service to these areas. However, priority for commuter bus service will always be given to students living in outlying areas and service for students residing within the 15-mile limit to Kapālama Campus is not guaranteed. If bus service is offered to areas within the 15-mile limit, priority will be given according to the student’s grade level as listed below under “Priorities for Bus Service”.

Commuter Bus Stops

Ideally, commuter bus stop locations are situated to the geographical location that will best suit the area being serviced. Although we make every effort to centralize all of our bus stops to the individual service area, we also take other factors into account when selecting bus stop locations such as bus access to and from the stop, time constraints, and locations that can accommodate buses and increased vehicle traffic. Commuter bus stop locations are not permanent and may be moved or adjusted for various reasons such as safety concerns, access issues, negative impact to the community, community complaints, and other reasons. Because of the difficulty in finding suitable locations for our commuter bus stops, we ask that all parents/guardians and students conduct themselves in a cordial, respectful manner, and follow all Transportation rules when at our commuter bus stops. We must always be mindful of the impact our presence has on the community and the general safety of everyone at our bus stops. Reported parent/guardian or student behavior at our commuter bus stops will be addressed on a case by case basis and could lead to a student’s removal of bus riding privileges.

Bus Arrival and Departure Times

Bus arrival times at community bus stops for AM commuter routes are generally 10 (ten) minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. Buses will depart promptly at the scheduled departure time. In times of inclement weather buses may pull into bus stops as soon as they arrive at the location and may board students 15 to 20 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. However, if arriving early to bus stops buses will not depart the stop early and will keep to the scheduled departure time. It is recommended that parents be at AM bus stops at least 10-15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. Any student arrivals to AM bus stops that delay the departure of buses are problematic and may result in disciplinary action for the student. Repeated or ongoing issues with delaying departures of buses will be looked at on a case by case basis and could lead to the removal of the student’s bus riding privileges. Any major delays in bus service will be communicated to parents through the automated School Messenger system.
AM commuter bus arrival times to campus are estimated and based off the scheduled departure times from community bus stops. Buses arrive to campus between 6:40am - 7:20am depending on traffic. The timeframe allows for students to be dropped off at all grade levels on campus without the student being late to class, and also allows for early buses to cover AM Terminal shuttles to campus. All AM commuter departure times from community bus stops are set to allow for a campus arrival between the hours of 6:40am and 7:20am. Transportation considers anticipated traffic conditions; bus stop departure times and estimated campus drop times for all grades when determining AM commuter departure times for all routes. No attempts to fine tune departure or arrival times will be made if routes are consistently arriving to campus during the acceptable arrival times under normal traffic conditions.
Bus departure times from campus for PM commuter routes are either 2:40pm (for designated routes with K-6 grade only) or 3:35pm (for designated routes K-12 grade). All students must be at the designated bus stop for their grade level at least 5 (five) to 10 (ten) minutes prior to the scheduled departure time and physically on the bus within 5 (five) minutes of its arrival to the pickup point. All buses are assigned to a loading sequence and may arrive at different grade levels for pickup anytime between 3:35pm and 3:50pm. However, the scheduled departure time for all routes (not assigned to KES 2:40pm load out) is 3:35pm and students must be standing by and ready to board their bus at that time. Buses will not return to pick up students who have missed their bus (grades 7 – 12) as this will delay the arrival time at the community bus stop for all other students on the bus. Student’s delaying departure of their assigned bus is problematic and subject to disciplinary action. Repeated or ongoing issues with delaying departures of buses will be looked at on a case by case basis and could lead to the removal of the student’s bus riding privileges.
PM arrival times at the community bus stops are estimated and based upon the scheduled departure time from campus, and normal traffic conditions. Any delays to the normal drop off time by more than 25 minutes will be communicated to parents through the automated School Messenger system.

Transportation Responsibilities

The Transportation Department is primarily tasked with the safe transport and care of students to and from Kapālama Campus and other KS School sanctioned trips. All students being transported by KS and Charter buses fall under the responsibility of the Transportation Department. Upon the students boarding the bus and departure from the pickup location is the point at which the Transportation Department assumes responsibility for student safety. Transportation does not assume responsibility for students before physical boarding and departure from designated pickup locations or after students have been dropped off at designated locations.
Students being dropped off at commuter bus stops for bus pickup should remain under the supervision of the parent or designated family member until safely on the school bus and departing from the bus stop. Parents or designated family members should make it a point to be at PM commuter pickup points at least 15 (fifteen) minutes prior to the estimated drop off time for their assigned community bus stop. Bus drivers are mindful of KES students and will be watchful for student pickups but do not assume responsibility for any students once they have departed the bus at PM commuter drop points. It is the KES parent/guardian's responsibility to receive their children at the PM commuter drop points.
The Transportation Department is responsible for notifying all bus stakeholders such as; parents/guardians, students, and staff of changes, issues, and concerns that impact bus service. Notification may be done by letter or automated notification system.
The Transportation Department is also responsible for the distribution and processing of annual bus application packets for bus service.

Accommodating out of District Requests

If an accommodation can be made, the first priority will be according to the grade of the student (youngest to oldest), and second priority according to the date application received. Requests will only be granted if there are no students on the waitlist for the requested service area.

Primary and Courtesy Bus Stops

With the exception of the North Shore area, all outlying service areas typically have one primary pickup and drop off point for commuter routes during the regular school year. Some areas have additional pickup and drop off points which are considered “courtesy” stops. Courtesy stops are in place for various reasons such as: the size of the service area, geographic residency of students and past practice. Transportation reviews all routes and service areas regularly and may eliminate, realign, or add courtesy bus stops as needed. The primary considerations given when analyzing courtesy bus stops are: if there is a legitimate need, does it serve a significant number of students in the service area, the safety of the stop location, the longevity of the stop, and the impact to Transportation time commitments/ability to provide bus service. The selection and determination of courtesy stops rests within the sole discretion of the Transportation Department.

It is important to note that Summer School Program decides whether or not to have courtesy stops for commuter routes during their program. The Transportation Department does not make this decision.

Bus Shortages and Breakdowns

The Transportation Department will make every effort to cover its commitments and provide buses for routes/trips as scheduled. However, there may be times in which we have bus breakdowns, manpower shortages, or other issues that prevent us from providing bus service at the scheduled time. In the event a bus does not show for a commuter pickup or drop off, all parents should note the following:
AM commuter routes:

PM commuter routes:

Safety and Expectations

The community sites used for AM and PM commuter bus stops are all situated in public locations and all parents/students utilizing our bus service must be aware of the impact our presence has on the community/area. It is imperative that we are all pono in our actions and treat each other and the commuter bus stop area with aloha when at our commuter bus stops. The expectation of all parents and students is to be courteous while waiting at all bus stops, to follow all rules and instructions given by KS bus drivers, to be safe, and otherwise to represent Kamehameha Schools in a positive manner by not causing any negative impacts that may jeopardize the safety and security of students, parents, the public, or KS use of commuter bus stops.

Priorities for Bus Service

The primary qualification in being awarded commuter bus service is the physical residency of the student and whether the student resides in a designated outlying area.

Annual Application Process

Each year during the first week of May, the Transportation Department will accept applications for commuter bus service for the following school year.  In School Year 2016/2017, the application process was moved from a paper copy to online thru the Transportation website.  Students/families seeking bus service must complete the online application process within the open application period.   Available routes are listed within the Parent Handbook, which can be accessed via the link below.  If you do not reside in an outlying area and do not see your area listed as a service area, bus service is not available.  Each year Transportation receives more requests than can be accommodated and can only provide service within the constraints (budget and equipment) of the Transportation Department. The awarding process is limited to seat availability. Specific routes and grade level assignments are not guaranteed, and all routes will be determined according to applications received. If awarded bus service, the student’s route assignment and specific bus stop location will be provided with the acceptance letter.

Online Application

Commuter bus service is offered to families residing in outlying areas each year in May for the following school year. The Online Application will be available (respectively) in the first week of May. The deadline to submit applications for bus service to Transportation will be toward the end of May. Families failing to submit their commuter bus service to Transportation before the deadline will be waitlisted and only considered for bus service after all applications for bus service received before the application deadline have been awarded bus service.
Applications for bus service are considered based upon the student’s local residence as listed on the bus service application. The Transportation Department will do its best in identifying application errors and contacting parents to make corrections. If selected for bus service, the student will be assigned to their requested route. Changes to route assignments can be requested and will be considered if space is available.

Community Meetings

The application process for School Year 2022/2023 will be online.  No community meetings will be held.  Any question(s) may be directed to the Transportation Department at 842-8329.

Expectations of Bus Users

The expectations of all students, parents, and staff utilizing KS bus service are to observe all rules, be safety minded, meet the time commitments for bus service, respect KS property/resources, and to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the values of Kamehameha Schools. All passengers are expected to abide by the Passenger Code of Conduct, as set forth in the Student and Parent Handbook. Any incident that involves a violation of the Code will be reported by Transportation to the unit offices, and may result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to forfeiture of bus riding privileges, or release from KS. Transportation is committed to providing safe and efficient bus service for our haumana and KS ‘Ohana and it is expected that all of our bus users be likewise committed to contributing to a positive experience for students and their safe transportation.

Closing Statement

The above listed information is intended as a source of reference and should not be considered an all-inclusive depiction of the Transportation Department’s Policies and Procedures. It is our hope that all bus users will read, understand and utilize the information provided to improve upon their bus service experience. The Transportation Department will continue striving to provide safe and efficient bus service while working toward improving efficiencies and the responsible use of KS resources.  Mahalo nui for taking the time to read and understand the Transportation Bus Service Guidelines.  Should you have any questions or require any clarifications, please contact the Transportation Department at 842-8329.

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