Popular border terminal for international air travelers expanding despite pandemic


SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The Cross Border Xpress has been open for almost five years and facilitates travel between San Diego and the Tijuana International Airport through a pedestrian bridge.

An average of 8,300 passengers use the facility on a typical day and an average of 14,000 on a peak day, according to CBX.

“Last year we processed 2.9 million passengers,” said Nancy Gudino, CBX’s Director of External Affairs.

According to Gudino, they were expecting to draw more than 3 million passengers this year, but the pandemic slowed things down. In spite of this, she says CBX has been expanding.

Nancy Gudino with Cross Border Xpress. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“This year, we went through quite a few renovations within our terminal to expand space that we offer for our passengers. We have additional plans to expand CBP processing area as well,” Gudino says.

CBX plans on doubling its northbound lanes, now operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, going from four to eight, with the double-stacked inspection booths totaling 16.

The new facilities will have the capacity to process an average of 20,000 people per day.

One bit of technology that won’t wait and has already been installed are state-of-the-art cameras called “biometric facial comparison” cameras. Some refer to them as face recognition cameras.

“It’s going to make the travel experience easier and more efficient and it’s touchless,” said CBP’s Angelica De Cima.

Angelica De Cima, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“It’s such a smooth and easy process they are not going to see much change, basically people pause to take a picture at inspection booth, officer processes travel documents, meanwhile while that’s happening the comparison photo is compared in matter of seconds and it helps determine whether someone is that actual person or an imposter,” she said.

The plan is to finish the Customs area expansion project within CBX by this time next year.

Other phases to expand CBX are being considered — part of its master development plan includes a hotel, gas stations, a business center and a parking building right next to the terminal. Work on these amenities could begin by late 2021.

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