Taking the bus in American Samoa
If you are visiting American Samoa, the reality is you will probably need to take the local bus while on island. It is not as bad as it sounds to be honest. Riding the bus in American Samoa is different is every way. It just is not like we think of public transportation in America.
It reminds me of riding the jeepneys in Manila more than anything else. It is a wild, loud and crazy ride but I can get where I am going pretty cheaply most of the time.
I have no idea who came up with the idea to hack a pickup truck up and extended it into a bus like vehicle but it was a pretty bright idea if you ask me. Most of the buses used there was Ford F-150 pickup that have been converted.
What is the bus in American Samoa experience?
You just stand a bus stop along the main road in American Samoa. For the most part, there is only one road that runs from one tip to the other. American Samoa only has a total of 47 miles of roadwork currently. 32 of that 47 is this one main road. I believe it is called American Samoa 1 officially. Yes, it is legally a highway that everyone goes 25 miles an hour on.
When the bus stops, you get on, sit down and ride down the road. When you get to where you are going, you pay your fare (normally a dollar) and get off the bus. It is all pretty straight forward.
One thing to note about the bus in American Samoa is the drivers are very serious about the stereos. I do mean very serious too. They like to turn the bus into a moving rock concert. Many of them have spend several hundred of dollars just on their system.
What are the limitations of the bus system?
The main one is the hours. They only operate from about seven in the morning to about six at night. They also run a eleven at night run to StarKist (Samoa Packing) so you might be able to get home late if you miss all the bus around 5-6 in the evening.
The other main limitation is on Sundays. There is no bus in American Samoa on Sundays to be honest. Getting around the island is basically by private car and taxi. I suggest planning a down day on Sunday!
The only other limitation I can think of is if you are going to a place like Sailele; there is only one bus a day. The driver brings everyone to Pago Pago in the morning, goes to work himself and then takes everyone home when he get off.
The “bus terminal” is next to the fruit market in the village of Fagatogo. It is two buildings over from McDonalds downtown and by Sadie Thompson Inn.