Daylight-Saving Time Causing Confusion for Border Crossers
Monday, March 12, 2007
In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act and added four more weeks to daylight-saving time. This year, for the first time, we changed our clocks three weeks earlier than usual -- and we'll change them back one week later in the fall. The purpose -- to save energy. But this poses a particularly relevant problem for border cities like San Diego. Mexico is still on the old schedule, which means neighbors like Tijuana and San Diego suddenly have a one-hour time difference.
For people who regularly negotiate life on both sides of the border, the early time change makes daily routines a little more challenging.
Tatiana Martinez, Journalist: It's confusing because we have the feeling you are late once you are in San Diego, and you are ahead of time when you are in Tijuana. It's a very, very strange feeling.
Tatiana Martinez is a journalist who crosses the border at least once a day. She lives with her family in Tijuana, but brings her kids to a private school in Lemon Grove. Martinez says in her household, they're going by San Diego time because that way she doesn't have to worry about being late. But convincing the kids is another matter.
Martinez: It's hard to explain to kids that they have to wake up earlier than their friends. And maybe your neighbor is still all in dark, but they have to wake up really early to go to school.
And Martinez says nearly half of Tijuana has to deal with daily time changes. If they don't cross the border to bring their kids to school, they do so to go to work. Israel Adato is the Vice President of the San Ysidro Business Association. He owns three businesses in the south county and says the time gap makes it difficult for his employees who have appointments to keep and border commutes to consider. He says it's an example of poor planning and communication.
Adato: You would think that being a part of NAFTA, Canada, Mexico and the U.S., they would be able to synchronize their watches together. Because if you think that in the European Union they can have twenty countries that can synchronize their currencies, it's almost a shame that we cannot synchronize our watches.
But Adato adds it does provide a rare chance to be in two places at the same time.
Adato: We have a new accolade actually for our border now. It's not only the busiest land crossing in the world, it's also a time tunnel.
Seventy countries currently use daylight saving time. This year Canada also made the early change to mirror the U.S. The community members we talked to today said they hope Mexico can do the same by next year.