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Hele-On Kako`o Paratransit

If information is needed in another language, interpretation services are available and can be requested by contacting our office at (808) 961-8744.

What is Hele-On Kako'o Paratransit?

The Hawai'i County Mass Transit Agency offers Hele-On Kako'o paratransit service to complement its current fixed routes on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Our current fixed route systems are located in Hilo and Kona. It is an advanced reservation, origin-to-destination service for persons with disabilities who are unable to use the regular fixed Hele-On bus service within the Hilo and Kona service areas. Eligibility is not based on the disability, but rather the functional inability of someone to use the fixed route service.

Where is the coverage area and hours of operation?

Paratransit service is available within corridors whose boundaries extend up to one (1) mile beyond the intra-Hilo and intra-Kona Hele-On fixed bus routes.

Click here to enter an address to determine if it is in one of our coverage areas.

Paratransit Reservation Line is available island-wide Monday through Saturday from 7:45 AM to 4:30 PM.

Hours of operation for transportation: 

  • Hilo      Monday - Saturday 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Kona    Monday - Saturday 7:00 AM - 7:30 PM

Service does not operate on Sundays and holidays recognized by the County of Hawai'i

Who qualifies for Hele-On Kako'o Paratransit?

Eligibility for Hele-On Kako‘o (HOK) paratransit service is directly related to the functional ability of individuals with disabilities to use the existing fixed route service. Eligibility is not based on a diagnosis or type of disability, age, income, or whether or not individuals can drive or have access to private automobile transportation. 

The regulations describe three specific circumstances under which a person may be considered ADA paratransit eligible:

  1. An individual who, as the result of a physical or mental impairment (including a vision impairment), without the assistance of another person (except the operator of a wheelchair lift or other boarding assistance device), is unable to board, ride or disembark from an accessible bus, or is unable to independently navigate the system (e.g., inability to recognize & board the correct bus, inability to have the correct fare available or is unable to use the fare collection system, cannot recognize destination(s) or lacks cognizant ability to successfully reach destination if transfers need to be made).
  2. Any individual who could use the fixed route service, but cannot because the fixed route he/she wants to ride is not wheelchair lift equipped or the bus stop is not accessible due to physical characteristics of the stop. Please note that all of our fixed-route buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts.
  3. A person whose disability interacts with the environment in such a way as it prevents travel to or from a bus stop (e.g. individuals with cardiac conditions can walk several blocks to bus stops, but doing so in very hot weather may put them at unreasonable risk). This category also includes architectural barriers and environmental conditions that prevent travel to or from a bus stop (e.g. complex intersections or busy streets certain individuals with disabilities may not be able to cross, or lack of curb ramps or alternative accessible pathways that would make individuals who use mobility devices travel in the street, while others are able to use the sidewalk). Distance to or from the bus stop alone does not qualify someone as being eligible. Lack of fixed route service or inconvenient bus schedules is also not a basis for eligibility.

Application and Eligibility Process

  • Complete an application
  • Call (808) 961-8744 for a short phone interview or you may request an in-person interview
  • Complete the in-person functional ability assessment at either the Hilo or Kona clinics
  • Your paratransit identification card will be mailed to you once eligibilty is determined
  • Once your card is received, you may begin making reservations and start using the service

The entire application and eligibility process normally takes about a week. Applicants will be notified in writing as to their eligibility status. You have the right to service if an eligibility decision takes longer than 21 days to determine.

Right to Appeal

Persons who are determined to be ineligible for Hele-On Kako'o paratransit service have the right to appeal the decision. A written request to appeal must be filed along with a copy of the determination letter, within 60 days of receipt of the ineligible determination letter, to the County of Hawaii Mass Transit Administrator at 25 Aupuni Street, Hilo, HI 96720.

How do I use the service?

Once you receive your Hele-On Kako'o paratransit identification card, you may call the reservation line to book your future trip.

Reservation Call Center (808) 640-1020

Monday - Saturday between 7:45 AM and 4:30 PM

Service is public transportation. It is a shared vehicle ride and is available by advance reservations only. Reservations must be made a minimum one day in advance for next-day service. Reservations may be made by leaving a message with the answering service on Sunday for next-day Monday service.

If you need transportation to several destinations in one day, you must make separate reservation requests for each pickup and drop off location. You may reserve multiple trips during the same reservation call. A one-hour window between trips is required. Please note that you may not make any changes to your reservation once your vehicle has arrived at the origin (pick up) point.

Pickup times may be negotiated up to one hour before and after the requested departure time. If you need to cancel a reservation, please call the Reservation Line at least two hours prior to your scheduled pickup as to avoid unnecessary transportation costs. Please do not wait for the driver to show up to inform them that you need to cancel the ride. Individuals who have a pattern of "no shows" (not canceling rides before pickup) may be subject to suspension of services.

Due to circumstances that may be out of the driver's control, please allow for a 30 minute pick up window. Please call the Reservation Call Center if the driver has not arrived after 30 minutes.

Drivers will depart after waiting at least 5 minutes beyond the scheduled pick up time.

FAQ

What does it cost to ride?

The cost for a one-way fare is $4 payable upon pickup. Driver does not provide change. Exact cash fare or a Hele-On Kako`o paratransit rider coupon will be accepted. Rider coupons are available for pre-trip purchase at the Mass Transit Agency office. 

If I already have paratransit eligibility in another city, can I travel on Hele-On Kako`o as a visitor?

Yes. If you are currently eligible for paratransit service in another jurisdiction, you may use the Hele-On Kako'o paratransit service for up to 21 days during a 365-day period. If you require service beyond that time you will need to go through the normal application and eligibility process.

Am I able to board or disembark using the ramp if I don't use a mobility device?

Yes. Walk-on riders who have difficulty stepping onto the vehicle may use the ramp.

Does the paratransit vehicle accommodate wheelchairs and scooters?

Yes.  Dimensions for these mobility devices should not exceed 53 inches in length and 33 inches in width, with a maximum weight of 600 pounds when occupied. Although not required, riders using scooters are recommended to relocate to a regular seat in the vehicle due to operational and safety considerations

 

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