SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry West Pedestrian Facility as it is officially known, reopened earlier this week after almost three years of being closed due to the pandemic and essential travel restrictions.
Unofficially, most people call it “Ped West.”
Its closure meant all border commuters on foot would have to use the pedestrian crossing on the east side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which created long lines and long waits to enter the U.S.
Officials said the reopening of Ped West is expected to ease wait times even though for now, it will only open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and only in a northbound direction.
But since it reopened, when compared to previous years when it was fully operational, it’s obvious only a handful of people are taking advantage.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not providing official numbers, but one customs officer who wanted to remain anonymous told Border Report “no one is using Ped West in spite of all the calls to reopen it.”
Joe Hendrix, a border commuter, is not complaining.
“I like it, keep it low-key because we come through quick,” Hendrix said.
Border Report spoke to Hendrix after he used Ped West to enter the U.S. following a night of celebrating in Tijuana.
“Me and a friend went drinking last night and we came back this morning as opposed to last night, but this is a game changer,” Hendrix said. “This is so much easier to get back and forth. Sometimes it takes hours in the (other) line. It’s not even worth it — know what I mean?”
Hendrix also stated Ped West will make a big difference for the thousands of people who cross the border daily to go to school, work, visit family or for appointments in the U.S.
“It’s quick you can do it easily,” he added.
He also said quicker crossing times will help drive more visitors to Tijuana.
“Why would you go back and forth, hang out, spend your money over there for six hours and then it takes four hours to get back?” he asked. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but if you can cross quick, it will make it easier.”
Ped West originally opened in July 2016 after its construction during a total renovation of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
When fully operational, more than 60,000 pedestrians use the facility daily to go between Mexico and the U.S.
As of now, the southbound lanes into Mexico will remain closed.
Mexico’s Customs office has said it hopes to open its portion of Ped West within a few weeks.