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Survey: Border Wait Times For Pedestrians Rise In San Ysidro

Photo caption: Pedestrians cross into Mexico through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Nov. 3, 2...

Photo by Jean Guerrero

Pedestrians cross into Mexico through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Nov. 3, 2015.

The South County Economic Development Council surveyed more than 3,000 pedestrians at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and found that average wait times have risen since 2011.

Pedestrians crossing the San Ysidro Port of Entry are facing longer wait times this year in the regular and "Ready" lanes, the South County Economic Development Council said in a report released Friday.

Average wait times rose to 61 minutes this year from 52 minutes in 2011, the last year the council conducted a study.

The council's president, Cindy Gompper, said wait times are especially hard on frequent crossers. More than a third of those surveyed crossed every day.

"If they are frequent crossers, they really need to look into the Sentri card," Gompper said.

Sentri is a traveler program that allows expedited crossing. The report recommended that authorities increase their marketing of the program to reduce wait times at the border for everyone.

The council surveyed more than 3,000 pedestrians and found that more than 50 percent of them were U.S. citizens, up from 38 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, the share of pedestrians who were Mexican citizens shrank from 44 percent to 32 percent.

The report did not speculate about the reasons behind the shifting demographics, but Gompper said more U.S. citizens are living and working in Tijuana.

More than a third of the pedestrians surveyed said they were crossing the border for work, whereas in 2011 only 23 percent did. Meanwhile, the percentage of people who listed shopping as their purpose for crossing decreased from 31 percent in 2011 to 24 percent this year.

The study also found that about half of those surveyed rode the trolley after crossing into the U.S. Gompper said this means public transportation will need to be considered for the opening of Ped West, a new San Ysidro pedestrian crossing slated to open in August.

That crossing is expected to decrease wait times. But unlike the current pedestrian crossing, it is not located right next to the trolley.

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