The Honolulu Skyline Rail System represents a significant leap forward in public transportation for Hawaii's capital city. This article will explore the cost to ride, features of the train, payment methods, station locations, and the history of how this ambitious project came to fruition.

The fare structure of the Skyline Rail System is designed to be straightforward and equitable. Adult passengers pay $3 for a single fare, which includes unlimited transfers for 2.5 hours, effectively making a roundtrip cost $6 per adult. A 7-day pass is available for $30. For children aged 6 to 17, the fare is halved to $1.50, and they too can get a 7-day pass for $15. Kids under 6 ride free with a fare-paying adult. Seniors aged 65 and over, along with disabled riders, have a reduced fare of $1.25. These fares are consistent with TheBus, Honolulu's bus service, ensuring a unified fare system across different modes of public transit.

The Skyline Rail System is not only a means of transportation but also a showcase of modern technology. The trains are driverless and feature platform screen doors for safety, a first for a large-scale metro in the United States. They are powered by a 'Third Rail' system, carrying 750 volts of electricity to ensure continuous operation. The trains are expected to run with approximately 6-minute headways during peak hours, providing frequent service to passengers.

To ride the Skyline, passengers must possess a Holo card, a contactless smart card that can be used for both the Skyline and TheBus systems. These cards can be purchased for $2 and reloaded online, over the phone, or at various retail locations. Fare Capping on the Holo card ensures that passengers do not spend more than the cost of a day or monthly pass. To board, riders simply 'tap' their Holo card at the fare gate.

Currently, eight stations are operational along the 15-mile stretch from Hālawa to Kapolei. These stations are:


  1. Kualakaʻi (East Kapolei)
  2. Keoneʻae (UH West Oʻahu)
  3. Honouliuli (Hoʻopili)
  4. Pouhala (Waipahu Transit Center)
  5. Hōʻaeʻae (Leeward Community College)
  6. Waiawa (Pearl Highlands)
  7. Kalauao (Pearlridge)
  8. Hālawa (Aloha Stadium)
  9. Pearl Harbor Naval Base (planned for 2025)
  10. Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (planned for 2025)
  11. Middle Street Transit Center (planned for 2025)
  12. Kalihi (planned for 2031)
  13. Civic Center (planned for 2031)
  14. Ala Moana Center (final goal) 

The concept of a mass transit line in Honolulu dates back to the 1960s, but it wasn't until 2005 that funding was secured. The project faced significant political debate, particularly during mayoral elections. Voters approved the construction of the rail line in November 2008, with groundbreaking taking place on February 22, 2011. The first phase opened on June 30, 2023, connecting East Kapolei and Aloha Stadium. The project has faced delays and challenges, including local opposition and regulatory hurdles. However, the Skyline is expected to be fully operational by 2031, providing a modern, efficient transportation solution for Honolulu.

The Honolulu Skyline Rail System is a testament to the city's commitment to progress and sustainability. With its advanced features, convenient payment system, and strategic station locations, the Skyline is set to transform the way residents and visitors experience Honolulu. As the system continues to expand, it promises to alleviate traffic congestion, improve air quality, and stimulate economic growth, marking a new era in urban transportation for Hawaii's capital.