Long lines and long waits appear to be the daily order at the border this holiday season. Earlier this week, pedestrians stretched back a quarter of a mile; those waiting to cross in cars went even further back into Tijuana, sometimes into downtown, along Juarez (2nd Street), westward to Avenida Revolución, and southerly into the Plaza Rio district.
Shopping crowds seemed passive enough, but weary looks and the occasional fuss and fidget revealed suppressed exasperation. TJ media have been keeping seasonal border-crossers apprised of the crossing climate as best they can, but this reporter’s crossings have revealed a trend that indicates long lines for the duration of the workday, with virtually no respite until after dark.
Lines, forming after the early a.m. work rush, have started at 9:00 a.m. and remained constant throughout the daylight hours. The line of people stretches under the pedestrian bridge on the Mexican side, back to the railroad tracks, doubling back down and under the auto bridge, and along the small park about a quarter mile back into Mexico from the border.
Tijuana’s daily Frontera has estimated lines at 3000-plus persons on foot and waits of up to three hours. Some of those waiting in line expressed surprise at the length and duration of the wait, even though they anticipated a certain amount of difficulty this month.
Adding to the problem, the U.S. border-station rebuilding effort has been working on about half of the crossing lanes for automobiles, making them ineligible for use, although efforts have been made to ameliorate the situation.
Crossers were advised to monitor the California Border Patrol’s website (cbp.gov) in order to stay informed of the most advantageous crossing times.