This Will Make You Thankful for Muni: Highway 17 Express

Rider Michael’s trip away from San Francisco lead him to the Highway 17 Express and a ride that was much longer than a typical Muni ride, on a road that’s far from ideal compared with our city streets.

Friday, I decided to take the afternoon off and head over to Santa Cruz. I had already taken Caltrain to Santa Clara County for some morning business and figured I’d just catch the Highway 17 Express from downtown San Jose. The next bus that I could make left at 12:40 and so I booked a 2:30 appointment figuring I’d have plenty of time.

All was well until we neared Los Gatos and traffic came to a dead stop. A little past the Highway 9 offramp, an overhead sign warned of an accident before the summit with “lanes blocked.” Well, there are only two lanes, so if “lanes” are blocked, we are probably in trouble. We crept along until the driver announced that we would be turning around at Bear Creek so we could go back and take Highway 9.

After we had turned around and were heading out of Los Gatos towards Saratoga, the driver pulled over to use his phone. Then he announced that Highway 17 was now open and we had to turn around and go back to the regular routing over the hill. Of course, traffic was still backed up and we lost at least an hour turning around for no reason. What were the dispatchers thinking?

After we re-entered 17 and inched our way up the hill, I noticed some guy move into an empty seat across the aisle. He fumbled around with his jacket, the tray table and his backpack, and then I saw him open the window and dump out the yellow contents of a water bottle. Eewwww….

In all, we were on that bus for 2 hours and 30 minutes. I thought I was going to burst when we finally pulled into downtown Santa Cruz. I didn’t make it to my appointment until 4 pm. Fortunately, the person I hoped to see was very accommodating and she worked me in around other clients.

The trip home was very uneventful.

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