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May 3, 2013 8:38 PM by Erika Flores

CBP: Pedestrian kiosks to speed port of entry wait times

TUCSON - U.S. Customs and Border Protection hopes a new program will reduce pedestrian crossing times at the Deconcini Port of Entry.

The six kiosks will be operational 24 hours a day.

Travelers need to have approved documents equipped with Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFIT) to use the kiosks.

The technology allows border officers to see a traveler's information before they get to the inspection booth.

CBP hopes to cut wait times by 10 to 15 minutes with these pedestrian kiosks.

Until now, the average wait time was about half an hour.

CBP said 12,000 to 14,000 pedestrians cross through the port every day.

Those pedestrians are becoming familiar with technology that's streamlining the system.

Once the traveler scans their document in the machine, the officer will hit a button determining whether they can proceed to the inspection booth.

"It's for safety concern for the officer," said an officer. "They know who's standing here before they get to that point right there."

CBP told News 4 Tucson they've already seen a reduction in wait times since they started using the kiosks earlier this week.

"We slide it through over there and the officers don't ask us so many questions anymore over here," said traveler Maria Belia Martinez.

Travelers who don't have documents with Radio Frequency Identification Technology still have to go through the line the old fashion way.

"Sixty-five to seventy percent of our travelers have the newer documents, so it's probably 30 to 40 percent that have the older documents," said Nogales port director Guadalupe Ramirez.

But for those like Martinez who is part of the majority, it's just added convenience.

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