This review of the wheelchair accessibility of Oahu’s airport transportation options (buses, shuttles, and taxis) is from Fall 2022 and Winter 2023.
Oahu has several options for wheelchair accessible shuttles, public buses, and taxis for getting from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to your final destination on the island. And the light rail currently under construction will just make it that much easier.
Note: These options are not limited to just the airport–they can go all over the island. For example, we took public buses to Pearl Harbor National Memorial, and looked into taking taxis to outlying beaches (but opted to rent a van instead due to costs and wanting to visit additional places). But we all need to get from the airport to the hotel before we tackle the rest of the island, so I focus on the airport routes.
We have used two of the wheelchair accessible shuttle services running between the airport and Waikiki–SpeediShuttle and Roberts Hawaii Airport Express. Both have been comfortable, relatively easy to book, and reliable. Both of these companies offer similar shuttle services on most of the other Hawaiian islands. I tend to prefer SpeediShuttle because they are cheaper, offer a similar experience, and typically require less advance notice.
SpeediShuttle permits online booking, including for a wheelchair accessible shuttle (at no additional cost). As you proceed through the booking process, there is a box to check to select a wheelchair accessible shuttle. The price was $39 for two people for a shared shuttle–we have only booked share rides, but had a few of them be private rides. The drivers were knowledgeable about the lift and tiedowns, drove safely/cautiously, and shared useful information about activities in Waikiki.
The driver typically calls me when we land, and directs us where to meet them–usually at or near baggage claim carousel 17. You can preorder leis for an additional fee–we received complimentary ones for our first visit, and I was surprised by their good quality. The company will also call the day before your flight back home to confirm the pick-up location and need for an accessible shuttle.
Note: SpeediShuttle’s bus had mechanical issues the day before one of our flights. They called us, informed us of the issue and apologized, and helped us reschedule a ride with Roberts Hawaii. Obviously not ideal, but I appreciated the customer service and assistance with a solution.
SpeediShuttle’s phone number is (808) 242-7777 and e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roberts Hawaii Airport Express
We booked Roberts Hawaii when SpeediShuttle had mechanical difficulties. The price for Roberts Hawaii from the airport to Waikiki was approximately $50 for two people. They have an online reservation system, and people booking accessible shuttles must do so at least seven days in advance. Otherwise, you can call them at least 48 hours in advance and book an accessible shuttle that way. Their phone number is (808) 539-9400 and e-mail is email@example.com (or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Note: The Daniel K. Inouye International Airport website says “no advance notice required” for Roberts’ accessible wheelchair shuttles from the airport. Even so, I suggest erring on the side of caution and booking in advance as required by Roberts’ website.
The driver was knowledgeable about the lift and tiedowns, drove safely/cautiously, and shared useful information about activities in Waikiki.
TheBus (Honolulu’s city bus line) is a cheap, fully accessible means of transportation from the airport. But they can also take a long time–the routes from the airport to Waikiki (e.g., Bus 20, 9, 40, 51) typically take around an hour (as opposed to 20-30 minutes with a shuttle).
We took TheBus from Pearl Harbor National Memorial to Waikiki (video below), which stopped at each of the airport’s terminals on the way. We opted to pay the $3 each way fare with cash, but you can also buy a HOLO card (bus pass) if you are going to be using the bus frequently or want to reach the daily cap on fares. I typically use Google Maps on my phone to find the best public transit options, and then will double check the information on TheBus Routes & Timetables website or by talking to a bus driver who makes a stop at my pick-up location.
The city buses are wheelchair accessible. They have a kneel system that lowers the bus, and a long ramp that folds out. Each bus has 2 wheelchair spaces, and the buses typically have Q’Straint automatic retracting restraint systems. All of the bus drivers I encountered were experienced with the loading and restraint process, and were willing to listen to my instructions for how to best restrain my chair. The buses are frequented by locals and tourists alike.
Oahu has a few options for wheelchair accessible taxis. I have spoken with several of the companies as they typically require at least 24-hours advanced reservations. I ultimately opted to not use them due to expense, especially their $20-30 pick-up fees that only apply to wheelchair accessible taxis. But I list them here to save you some homework if you need them.
- Handi-Cab is the wheelchair accessible version of Hawaii’s TheCab company, which has a large fleet of cabs. They charge $20-30 pick-up fees plus $3.90/mile. They also add a rural surcharge of $20 for certain locations. Their contact is email@example.com or (808) 422-2222.
- Flash Shuttle Services charges a $30 pick-up fee, plus $3/mile. Their contact is (808) 829-5468 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The Hawaii Aging and Disability Resource Center compiled a list of wheelchair accessible taxi companies in 2015. I found that many of them were no longer active, but I appreciated HADR’s efforts and it is another good resource for your search.
Whether bus, shuttle, or taxi, wheelchair accessibility of Oahu’s airport transportation options are pretty reliable, and I especially appreciate the back-up options in case my primary method fails. Although, there are worse things than being stuck in paradise for another day.