In theory you can get a bus at mid point, however they get packed solid and could be a crush. It does not take as long as 4 hours to walk, it is only 4½ miles(7 km).
Retired Hippy is correct about the time the walk takes; we have done it twice in under 2.5 hours, including plenty of stops to take photos and get a snack and drink from a roadside kiosk roughly near the halfway mark. If you were to exit the path partway through the walk (i.e. in the Imerovigli area, where the main road runs fairly close to the path), you would miss out on a lot of spectacular scenery, including great views of Oia as the path descends the final hill along the route. You wouldn't get to see any of those views from the bus.
To clarify, it's about 7 miles or 13km between Oia and Fira along the road. There are a couple of obvious places along the trail between Imerovigli and Oia where you can easily get back to the road to catch the bus, and the bus won't be in SRO mode until late June, and even then that won't be the case on every bus. Morning buses are less-crowded than the early afternoon buses, but those around the sunset will be full to the brim.
Thanks to all
I might take the bus to half-way then stroll all the way downhill to Oia (hopefully)
I will be there the first week of May so not concerned about SRO on the bus.
It's not all downhill to Oia from the halfway point along the highway (my definition of "halfway" is the place where the clifftop path emerges onto the main road and then resumes, several hundred feet down the road, at the snack bar). From there, more than half the distance to Oia will be an uphill walk, with some fabulous views of Imerovigli, Skaros Rock and the volcano island, followed by a downhill stretch leading into the village.
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