SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Border commuters at the San Ysidro Port of Entry south of San Diego have been experiencing up to five-hour border waits this week.

Several reasons can be attributed for the longer waits.

While the number of open traffic lanes at the border crossing has been drastically reduced during the on-going COVID-19 crisis, the number of commuters has risen in recent weeks as more and more people are heading north to jobs that are coming on-line once again.

“I waited three hours and 20 minutes yesterday,” said Melissa, who crosses the border daily for her job at a fast food restaurant in San Diego. “I don’t know what’s going on, sometimes I have to leave my house at three in the morning to get to work on time.”

Other factors for the longer wait times include diminished hours of operation at Otay Mesa Port of Entry, the other border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana. Some commuters have been forced to use the San Ysidro border crossing, adding to the congestion.

Another reason cited, is that more people are heading north of the border to pick up and/or cash stimulus checks.

A branch manager of a South San Diego Bank of America, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Border Report her tellers have been cashing stimulus checks “all day long.”

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they have seen a 4 percent surge in car traffic at the border crossing with an additional 15 percent on the pedestrian side.

“Over the last four weeks, we have seen a gradual increase in both vehicle and pedestrian traffic and an uptick in U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents traveling across the border.  In addition, last week, 92% – 94% of travelers entering in vehicles and on foot were U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents,” Chief CBP Officer Angelica DeCima wrote in an email to Border Report.

Kristie Goodwell, who has been crossing the border daily with her two daughters, said she can’t see why “they don’t add more personnel.”

“It’s hot, dusty, the way the system is, it’s stupid,” Goodwell said.

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