Published On: Wed, Sep 2nd, 2015

FastPass Border Crossing does not Attract Much Interest

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On August 1, Mexico’s San Ysidro pedestrian border crossing — long a favorite for American daytrippers heading into Tijuana — got a little less unregulated, as the country began running walkers through its newly built customs inspection facility.

Visitors are asked about their reasons for entering Mexico, how long they intend to stay, providing they are not kidnapped, and what drugs they plan to smuggle into America upon their return. Their passports are stamped, and they are given suspicious looks by authoritarian customs officials before being told the enjoy their stay and watch their step.

Law-and-order Mexicans are hailing the decision to begin enforcing long-extant customs statutes. “If they’re getting serious about customs, can ridding the government of corruption and stopping the wholesale slaughter of the drug wars be far behind?” asks Inmaculada Nallevitez, a Tijuana resident. “For me, it is the dawn of a new era. An era of regulation and policy and the humble acceptance of long lines in the hot sun. Viva Mexico!

Pedestrians wait in line to pass through Mexico's new East Gate facility, apparently unmoved by Speedy Gonzales' promise of available rapid entry. (Photo: San Diego Reader)

Pedestrians wait in line to pass through Mexico’s new East Gate facility, apparently unmoved by Speedy Gonzales’ promise of available rapid entry. (Photo: San Diego Reader)

But other Mexicans are less ecstatic. “My American customers aren’t really interested in regulations and long lines,” says Hector Bibit, owner of Club Chug on Tijuana’s famous Avenida Revolución. “If they want that, they can head down to the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. Tijuana needs to be a lark, careless and crazy. I need the border to be as loose as their wallets after five Chugaritas. Standing in line only gives them time to reconsider their life choices.”

Bibit is not alone in his concerns. Bars and restaurants all over Tiuana were quick to report traffic losses of 20% or more.

To placate the nervous tourist trade, Mexico’s Deptartment of Customs agreed to install a second gate equipped with a FastPass detector that would allow Americans to breeze over the border like before, provided they submitted to a background check and paid an annual fee of $50. “It seemed a very reasonable alternative,” says Customs Official Juan Derlust. “We even licensed the use of Warner Brothers’ sprightly rodent Speedy Gonzalez to restore a sense of fun and fastness to the border crossing process. But strangely, the initiative has failed to attract much interest.”





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