New "fastlane" kiosks for travelers crossing border in Nogales
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's inevitable. Long lines to walk across the border in Nogales. Checking ID's has been a time consuming process for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Now, a new high tech tool could shorten the wait.
At the port of entry, every second counts. Even just 1 or 2 seconds saved -- per person -- adds up -- when you multiply that by more than 10,000. The number of people who cross the border daily.
The wait in line to walk across the border can be grueling on a hot day -- on average -- a half hour-- but up to an hour and half on weekends and holidays.
Shocking to some.
Jeannie Pflug, who took the trip across the border for the first time, couldn't believe how many people were waiting in line.
But not so shocking to frequent crossers.
Yolanda Moreno said, "Sometimes there's too many people and not enough gates."
Could the new high tech ID reader -- a pedestrian kiosk -- be the answer to help speed things up?
This is how it works. Travelers place their identification -- passport or other id -- in a slot in the kiosk. It reads the data stored in a radio frequency identification chip embedded in the card.
Since the device is new, officers stood by to help some travelers. " It just blew me away. I didn't know what it was. The (officer) had to tell me I had to go back and put my card through. I had no idea."
Others didn't need the help. "You just slide your passport in there and then it comes up on the kiosk that you're good to go," said another traveler.
The data gets sent to the customs officer a few feet ahead, who quickly checks for any red flags, before the traveler gets to the turnstile.
Moreno said she's not convinced it'll speed things up because she believes there is too much inefficiency with agents. "It's not going to happen."
But Alex Salcido, who lives in Nogales Mexico, said he's impressed. "It was good. It was new. It was better."
Good thing -- the kiosks are now running at all six pedestrian lanes inside the port of entry.
These pedestrian kiosks are used at ports of entry in other states. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the devise has significantly cut down the wait times.