If you do not own a car or rent one, you will need to use the public bus in American Samoa. This is doable but there are some serious limitations that you will need to know about. I used the buses many times and if you know where you are going and what time of the day it is, it works out pretty well.
I will give you the head’s up now: they only run until about five in the evening and none of the buses run on Sunday at all. Ok, nothing works on Sundays in American Samoa besides McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr.
The other thing is if going to the Eastern district of American Samoa, the buses can be alot of less often and if you are on that backside where Sailele and Aoa villages are, the bus can be as little as twice a day. It is what it is. You just have to plan accordingly.
There is really three routes on the island for the buses: Tula to the east and Tufuna and Loene to the west. There is a few other buses but these are the main routes that run every hour or so until five in the evening.
How the public bus in American Samoa works?
President Bush signed to have a new public market and bus station build in American Samoa. It was partly finished several years ago and now the buses meet there. You can get whatever route you need there for the most part. Most trips are one dollar and if you go to the end of the island, they might ask you for two bucks.
The size of the bus does not matter, either. Some of the buses are larger trucks but the price and the route is the same. The only difference is the bigger bus like to play music louder and they like to speed past the 25 miles per hour limit that is for all of American Samoa. Otherwise, there is no difference.
The one thing I would suggest is try to travel after nine in the morning because all the kids going to school will pack the bus to the max and it will be very uncomfortable. For some reason, they would rather ride the public bus than use the government’s school buses. I think it is the loud music the driver likes to rock out with, personally.
What if you miss the last bus?
The good news is there is a late night run most nights to the tuna factory to pick up workings and drop them off at home. There is a good chance one of the drivers would feel sorry for the stranded tourist and help get you to where you need to get.
If this happens, walk down to the Starkist factory in Pago Pago and just wait for the evening crew to come out and get on the bus. When that happens, ask a driver if he has room. They normally do make room for you on one of them.
Have you rode the public bus in American Samoa? If so, how was it?