SAN DIEGO — A trolley that would allow riders to cross the U.S.-Mexico border from San Diego into Tijuana is in the early planning stages, officials in Mexico confirmed with FOX 5 Wednesday.
The Economy Secretary of Baja California’s office said officials are conducting a feasibility study to figure out the logistics and to see if the trolley could use existing tracks.
The trolley plan would work jointly with officials from Tijuana’s city council, Mexico’s federal government and American officials including Caltrans, SANDAG and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Officials in Mexico said the trolley is in response to increased wait times at border crossings, which impact those who work or go to school in the U.S., but live across the border. The new ride is among a variety of options authorities are considering.
“The possibility of elevated pedestrian crossings has been considered as that of CBX, the extension of the trolley track across the border, and even the construction of facilities within other points far from the international border, where the corresponding inspections can be carried out beforehand,” officials from Baja California’s State Secretary of Economy said in an email to FOX 5.
Border commuters told FOX 5 they’ve faced untenable wait times.
“I would sleep in my car because I just don’t want to fight in that line,” Andrea Sanchez told FOX 5. For Sanchez and her daughter, who live in Mexico but work in the United States, the trolley that connects Tijuana to San Diego could save them hours.
“People do what they got to do and I think it would make it a little bit better for those that choose or have to live over there (Mexico),” Sanchez said. “It would be so much easier, save gas.”
“There have been discussions about a cross-border Trolley connection going back 30 years. There are many challenges around the border crossing to make this happen. MTS is happy to meet and discuss the current efforts with the appropriate authorities in Mexico,” MTS said in a statement Wednesday.
People who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border Wednesday often said they are hopeful a trolley would shorten the line crossing the border, while others said they are worried there would still be a long line to get on the trolley while officials checked paperwork.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a good idea, just walking there’s a lot of people — imagine on the trolley,” Araceli Guzman said, as she waited to pick up a family member crossing the border.
Officials in Mexico said Wednesday that they do not yet have a set plan on how they would implement border checks, but have ideas including a structure like CBX to check documents, or building a new system.
There is also a ferry project in the works that would connect the Port of San Diego to Ensenada.
The San Diego-Ensenada Ferry Project is undergoing a feasibility study and official conversations between the Mexico and U.S. Customs authorities and the Coast Guard have already started.
A meeting held in April discussed the profitability issues, the type of ferry, the environmental evaluation and authorizations from the U.S. for the transfer of passengers and vehicles who cross the border.