HONOLULU, HI — April 7, 2011 – Starting this month, a distinctive and fun new attraction will be seen and enjoyed in Waikiki with the introduction of seven open-top, red double-decker sightseeing buses.
Dubbed the Aloha Bus, the brightly colored, island-themed double-deckers will offer scheduled roundtrip sightseeing tours from the Duke Kahanamoku statue at Waikiki Beach to the King Kalakaua statue and Chinatown in scenic downtown Honolulu, with added stops for dining, shopping and transfers to historic Pearl Harbor.
"We are excited to launch the Aloha Bus program and offer a new and exciting way to enjoy the beauty of Hawaii," said Colin Murphy, president of Polynesian Adventure Tours/Gray Line Hawaii, which is launching the new service. "The double-deckers are not just a mode of transportation, they are a visitor activity in themselves. 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."
Each of the red double-decker buses are decorated with colorful images of Hawaii icons and offer tours designed to let people hop on or off any at any scheduled stops to dine, shop and view cultural and historic sites. The buses are similar to the ones originally used in London, and are now also popular for sightseeing in Hong Kong, Singapore, New York City, and other prime tourist destinations.
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 will interact with passengers aboard the buses.
"Polynesian Adventure Tours continues to be the leader in providing value, variety and access to Oahu's most exciting and fun things to do," said Lee Collins, vice president of sales and marketing for the company. "We have created a new dimension to City bus tours that offers something new and exciting to Waikiki visitors."
Translated tour narrations in English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Spanish will be provided via individual passenger headphones. Description of points of interest will be GPS activated as the bus passes cultural and historical sites as well as shops and restaurants.
"We're pleased to be ahead of the curve by including language translation for the emerging travel business coming from Korea and China," said Collins.
The double decker buses will follow a "Historic Route" during the day taking passengers through Waikiki towards downtown Honolulu with stops at Ala Moana Center, Ward Warehouse, Academy of Arts, Iolani Palace, the King Kamehameha Statue, Chinatown, Aloha Tower and Hilo Hattie. From Hilo Hattie's, passengers can transfer to a regular Polynesian Adventure Tour bus for a roundtrip to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, Aloha Stadium (when the Swap Meet and Marketplace is open) and Bishop Museum.
A "Night Loop" schedule goes into effect at 5:30 p.m. that takes passengers through popular shopping and dining areas with Aloha Tower being the turnaround point.
The buses can 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 has a "kneeling" capability that lowers the vehicle 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 priced at $39.99 for one day usage; $49.99 for two days; and $59.99 for a three-day pass. They can be purchased onboard, or online at www.alohabus.com, by telephone at 808-833-3000 or toll-free at 1-800-622-3011, or at partner agencies and hotels.
The buses were shipped from New York and arrived in Honolulu in mid-March. Driver training and safety instruction have been underway for the past several weeks.
About Polynesian Adventure Tours/Gray Line Hawaii
The company was acquired by Norwegian Cruise Lines in 2004. The company currently has 460 employees and operates more than 140 buses on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii.
Polynesian Adventure Tours/Gray Line Hawaii specializes in charters, transfers and tours for the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii (The Big Island). They have been providing reliable sightseeing land tours for over 34 years and continue to grow and explore new ways to bring the excitement and beauty that is Hawaii to our visitors. Polynesian Adventure Tours proudly offer high quality, informative Oahu excursions such as the Pearl Harbor tours, Pacific Aviation Museum tours, USS Missouri tours and USS Bowfin tour, or spend the day on one of the Circle Island tours. Polynesian Adventure Tours also offers tours of the neighbor islands, including Big Island Volcano tours, Road to Hana tours on Maui, Maui eco tours and Waimea Canyon tours
About Gray Line
Serving over 700 destinations worldwide, Gray Line invented the art of sightseeing and serves as the industry leader in tours, activities and attractions. Founded in 1910, primarily offering excursions throughout North America, the company has since grown into a multi-faceted, global sightseeing powerhouse specializing in well-rounded destination experiences that include adventure and eco tours, luxury tour services, budget-friendly activities, as well as culinary, cultural and historical pursuits. The company is headquartered in Denver, Colorado.