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Frequently Asked Questions
Fares, Stored Value & Fees
1. What is my fare?
To determine your fare, please click on the following link: City and County of Honolulu Fare Tariff
2. What is stored value?
The HOLO card can hold a pass or stored value in a linked account. Stored value is an electronic alternative to cash. A "smart card" that contains a microchip is linked to an account that can both store electronic currency and process financial transactions. Your account can also store a pass at the same time.
When using HOLO, the validator will first check your account to see if you have a valid pass. Next, if you don't have a pass in your account, it will check to see if you have sufficient value to pay for your ride and deduct the fare if you do.
3. Are there fees or service charges?
Starting March 1, 2022, new and replacement HOLO cards will cost $2. If you have a Senior or Disability HOLO Card, you get the first new card for free. There is also a $2.75 minimum when loading or reloading a card.
4. Are there still programs for distributing free or low income fares?
The current programs for senior, disability, TheHandi-Van, U.S. Medicare and bus pass subsidy programs are still in place for individuals who qualify for the programs. Senior and disability riders that have the reduced fare HOLO card will have the added advantage to load their passes and value electronically or at the participating retail locations.
Getting a HOLO Card & Adding Value
1. I am just visiting, do I need a HOLO card?
Aloha! No, but if you’re going to be in town for a while and you expect to ride frequently, you may want to get a HOLO card so you don’t pay more than you have to. Using the HOLO card you will earn a day pass after paying for two rides in a day. Or, you can just use value stored in your account to buy a one way ticket when you tap your HOLO card at any on-Board reader and at future rail stations. You can also buy HOLO cards at participating retailers, and TheBus Pass Office, as well as at future Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at future rail stations.
2. Where can I get a HOLO card? Can I get one mailed to me?
Adult HOLO cards are available at local participating retail stores. Senior, Youth, Disabled, and Medicare cards are available at TheBus Pass Office. Satellite City Halls can also issue Senior, Youth and Adult cards. View retail store and Satellite City Hall locations. Adult HOLO cards are also available by mail. Adult cards with monthly passes ordered online after the 19th will be valid for the following month. Please allow up to 10 business days for delivery.
3. How much does the HOLO card cost?
Starting March 1, 2022, new and replacement HOLO cards will cost $2. If you have a Senior or Disability HOLO Card, you get the first new card for free.
4. Do you still accept cash?
Yes. You can still use cash to buy a one way ride on-board TheBus and in the future on scheduled TheHandi-Van rides. You can also reload your HOLO card using cash at any of the retail locations listed here on our website including Times and Foodland. TheBus Pass Office at Kalihi Transit Center and at Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at future rail stations.
Fare Capping & Earning Passes
1. What is fare capping?
If you don’t have the money to purchase a pass up-front or don’t know how often you will ride, fare capping is the best option for you. Simply ride, and the money you spend on fare will go toward earning a day, month, or annual pass. Once you spend the amount needed to earn the pass, you'll get to ride for free for the rest of the day, month, or year.
With fare capping, you don't need to guess the amount of trips you'll make in a given period of time. This saves you money on passes you may not need while ensuring you always get a pass if you're riding frequently.
2. How do I earn a day, month, or annual pass?
All you have to do is ride. Every time you pay for your fare, your money goes toward a pass.
You'll earn a day pass after paying for 2 bus rides in one day. The validity period for the day pass is from 3 AM on the first day until 2:59 AM on the second. For more information, view 2 Steps to Earn a Day Pass.
You can earn a month pass from the first to the end of the month. For example, if an adult rider uses $5.50 of fare on their HOLO Card each day, by the 13th day they will have spent $70 (the cost of an Adult monthly pass). Now they will ride for free for the rest of the month. For more information, view How to Earn a Month Pass.
You can earn an annual pass from January 1st to December 31st. For example, if a senior rider earns month passes ($6) from January through June, they will have spent $35 (the cost of a Senior annual pass). Now they get to ride for free until the end of the year. Next year, they can begin earning a new annual pass on January 1st.
3. If I'm only a few dollars or cents away from earning a pass, will I need to pay full fare for my next ride?
No, you will only pay up to the amount of the pass. For instance, if an adult rider uses $68.75 of fare on their HOLO Card in a month, their next ride will only cost $1.25 to reach the Adult month pass price of $70. Once they reach $70, they ride the rest of the month for free.
4. Do I have to register my card in order to earn a pass?
You do not have to register your card to earn a pass--the money you spend on rides will still go toward a day, month, and annual pass. However, your card will not be protected against loss or theft if it is unregistered. To register, create an account.
5. Can I still buy a monthly pass?
With your HOLO card you can buy a monthly pass at participating retailers, and TheBus Pass Office at Kalihi Transit Center. You can also sign up on your account for autoload to automatically load your monthly pass for you and charge your credit or debit card. Autoload will occur 1 or 2 days before the 1st of the month. You can also use autoload to add value to your card.
6. When should I buy a monthly pass?
If you need a pass for the current month, you must purchase it from the 1st to the 19th of the month. If you need a pass for the next month, you must purchase it on or after the 20th of the current month. For example, if you purchase a month pass on June 15th, the pass will be valid for the rest of June. But if you purchase a month pass on June 20th, the pass will be valid for all of July.
7. If I set autoload to automatically load my monthly pass, when will I be charged for my new pass?
Autoload will occur 1 or 2 days before the 1st of the month. This means that you will be charged for your new pass up to 48 hours before the first day of the new month.
Understanding the HOLO Card
1. How does my HOLO Card work?
Your HOLO card has a chip in it that allows a specific radio frequency to read it at a card reader. The card reader then sends a signal to a back office to confirm the card has a valid account associated with it. The account holds either a pass or value that you can use to ride transit. Every time you tap your card a signal is sent to the HOLO card back office to confirm that your account is good to go.
2. Do I tap every time I board? Do I have to tap off too?
Yes – your tap is proof of payment. Tap your card at the HOLO card validator located on board the bus and at faregate validators coming soon to rail stations every time you board a bus or train. Wait to see the shaka sign or listen for the ukulele tone. This will indicate your fare is paid.
If you see a sign indicating "Payment already received" that means that your card has been read and you can still proceed. We have a passback feature that means that your card can not be charged twice at the same validator within a two minute timeframe. This ensures you are not double charged but also means that you cannot pay for more than on fare with one card.
You do not have to tap off when exiting TheBus. We’ve tried to keep HOLO really simple. At future rail stations, you will need to tap your HOLO card to enter and to exit. You will be charged for your trip on entry.
3. What are the benefits of the HOLO Card? How is it different from the current system?
Fare prices are the same, and passes are still valid for the same period as today. HOLO is simply a better way to pay your fare and we have made it even easier for day pass users with the "Earn a Day Pass" feature. With HOLO:
- You tap your HOLO card on the HOLO reader on board the bus or at future rail stations every time you board.
- You can protect your balance from loss or theft by registering your card
- You can earn a day pass instead of buying a day pass in advance...You’ll never pay more than the price of a day pass in one day.
- Monthly passes can be loaded to your account on line, at participating local retailers and TheBus pass office.
- You can transfer to any TheBus or future rail station using your HOLO card.
4. Do I have to get a HOLO Card?
No, you can still use cash on board TheBus and TheHandi-Van but you will need a HOLO card to ride the rail. Your HOLO card also lets you save money by earning a day pass as you ride and never paying more than you have to.
5. Will HOLO remind me when my balance is getting low?
If your HOLO balance is low, you’ll see a yellow warning in the top left corner of the validator after tapping.
6. How can I get a HOLO Card?
Please go here for retail locations to get an Adult HOLO Card. For Seniors (over 65), youth (aged 6-18), qualifying disabled and Medicare users, please visit TheBus pass office at Kalihi Transit Center with valid ID (and valid documents for Medicare and disabled) to get a card. You can also get a Senior, Youth, or Adult HOLO Card at Satellite City Halls.
7. Do HOLO Cards have an expiration?
The cards do not expire. The physical cards should last a minimum of 5 years, provided you do not punch a hole in them or damage them.
8. Can my HOLO Card be placed in my wallet?
Please tap your HOLO card at the reader. If you have more than one chip card in your wallet or on a lanyard, the reader will look for the first chip it “sees”. This means it will potentially not read your HOLO card if it’s in your wallet.
HOLO Account Managment
1. Should I register my HOLO Card?
One of the best features of HOLO card is that your money is protected in case your card is lost or stolen. But if you want this protection, you need to register your card first at www.holocard.net
Registering your card has many advantages:
- Card and account protection – If your card is lost or stolen, you can easily deactivate the card, set-up a new card with access to your existing pass and or stored value.
- Reload and purchase passes online.
- Set-up autoload for monthly passes or stored value.
- Easily manage multiple cards for your family or group.
2. Is my financial information secure?
Yes. Your personal data and bank information is in a secure database and not on the card itself. The HOLO database does not store credit card numbers, only tokens and the last four digits of the credit or debit card number for your reference.
3. What personal information does HOLO collect?
If you choose to register your HOLO card, we ask for your first and last name and your email address. We use your anonymous travel data (viewed in aggregate with other riders’ trips) to look at broad ridership trends and help us improve our service. With your permission, we use your transaction data to help you when you contact us with a question about your account.
4. Do I need a smartphone or internet to use HOLO?
No, you don’t need the HOLO website to use HOLO. You can also reload your HOLO card at local participating retailers, TheBus Pass Office at Kalihi Transit Center, and by calling 808-768-HOLO Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm.
5. Do I need a bank account for HOLO?
No, you don’t need a bank account to use HOLO. You can buy and reload cards using cash at any of participating retailers, the TheBus Customer Service Center and at future Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at future rail stations.
6. Can I pay for more than one riders’ fare with my card?
No. Everyone age 6 and up in your group or family needs their own HOLO card to pay a fare. However, you can easily manage multiple cards through one HOLO account on the HOLO website (www.holocard.net).
7. Can I pay with my phone?
Not yet, but we hope to bring this option to you in the future. You can load value to your HOLO card with your phone by accessing your account at the mobile website www.holocard.net
8. How do I load money or a pass on my card?
There are four ways to load money on your HOLO card:
- At www.holocard.net
- By calling 1-808-768-HOLO (4656)
- At any of the stores in our retail network
- At TheBus Pass Office at Kalihi Transit Center
- At future rail station ticket vending machines
With your HOLO card you can buy a monthly pass at participating retailers, and TheBus Pass Office at Kalihi Transit Center. You can also sign up on your account for autoload to automatically load your monthly pass for you and charge your credit or debit card. Autoload will occur 1 or 2 days before the 1st of the month. You can also use autoload to add stored value to your card.
9. Is there a minimum load amount?
There is a $2.75 minimum when loading money on your HOLO card.
10. How do I check my card balance or the time remaining on my pass?
You can check your HOLO card balance or pass on at www.holocard.net, or by phone at 1-808-768-HOLO (4656).
11. Can I set up HOLO to automatically add money to my card when my balance is low?
When you register your card online, you can set up autoload, which puts money on your HOLO card whenever your balance dips below a threshold amount that you set up which can be as low as $2.75. You can set up the amount to load to your card with an amount starting at $5.00 when it hits that threshold; that way you’re never stuck without fare.
12. Can I transfer balance between cards?
Yes! You can transfer funds between cards within your account or just give us a call at 1-808-768-HOLO (4656).
1. Where can I get customer service in person?
If you’d like to get in-person assistance, you can stop by one of our offices:
- TheBus Pass Office, Kalihi Transit Center, 601 Middle Street, Honolulu, HI is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Our HOLO customer service team is available by phone at 1-808-768-HOLO(4656) from 7:30 am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday.
2. How do I report my card lost or stolen?
If you have a registered HOLO card and it’s ever lost or stolen, let us know immediately by logging in to your account and choosing “Report Lost or Stolen” on the HOLO website www.holocard.net, or give us a call at 1-808-768-HOLO(4656). The balance of a registered card is protected if it is lost or stolen. Once you have reported your card lost or stolen, the previous card will be deactivated and your balance can be transferred to a new card.
3. How do I get my money back after my card was lost or stolen?
If your card is registered, we can transfer your money or pass to a replacement HOLO card. Pick up a card at a participating retailer or TheBus Pass Office at Kalihi Transit Center then give us a call at 1-808-768-HOLO(4656) or go online to www.holocard.net.
4. Why is my card blocked?
Cards are blocked either by the account holder at their request to a customer service agent at 808-768-4656(HOLO) or you may block your card yourself at www.holocard.net
When a card is blocked, it goes on a "hotlist." This means when it's tapped at a card reader a negative sound is made and a customer does not have the ability to pay for their ride with their HOLO card.
Cards are also blocked by the system if the card was used with insufficient funds. In this case, the card is considered to have gone "negative." When the card has gone "negative" a user has to load to the card to cover the negative amount and add sufficient funds to ride again.
5. How do I unblock my card?
You can unblock your card by calling the HOLO Call Center at 808-768-4656(HOLO). If your card is blocked because of insufficient value, you can add value at www.holocard.net or at a local retailer.
6. What happens when I deactivate my card?
Your balance stays on your HOLO account. We just shut off that card temporarily so nobody can use it. You can log in to your account and select “Reactivate Card” to turn it back on. If you get a new card, call us at 1-808-768-4656(HOLO) and we’ll transfer the balance to your new card.
Learn About Fare Capping