CBX airport connector gets ready for cross-border holiday travel crunch

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Expansion projects at the Cross Border Xpress sky bridge that connects San Diego to the Tijuana International Airport means travel may go a bit smoother this holiday season.

Over the past year, the binational pedestrian walkway, known as CBX for short, increased parking capacity by 60 percent, automated checkpoints by 93 percent and staffing by 25 percent, according to officials.

“We are ready for the season. We have everything we need for parking, crossing speed, comfort and the terminal is wider now,” said Gonzalo Robles, chief revenue and business development officer with CBX.

Improvements began early this year on both sides of the border. In February, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing area within CBX was expanded from four to eight double-stacked booths, for a total of 16 inspection lines available for processing travelers arriving from the Tijuana airport.

In May, the Tijuana airport opened a new 430,000-square-foot facility to process CBX travelers. Around 30 percent of passengers arriving at the airport use the cross-border bridge.

On the U.S. side, CBX opened a new parking lot Saturday with capacity for 1,882 vehicles. With this, there will now be more than 10,200 parking spaces available for travelers. This represents a considerable increase, given that last year there were 5,400 spaces, said Robles.

Parking was one of the priorities in CBX’s expansion project, given that nearly half of travelers who use CBX are believed to arrive by vehicle from the Los Angeles area, Robles said.

The new layout includes an exclusive waiting area for taxis, one for rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft, and another for cellphone parking.

Inside the terminal, the number of automated checkpoints increased from six to 16 for travelers going to the Tijuana airport.

While wait times to cross the border are expected to be longer than usual during the next few weeks, Robles said that CBX is working with both Mexican and U.S. authorities to ensure there is enough personnel to meet the high demand. “Everything is designed and prepared so that at peak times we have as many officers as possible,” he said.

He does have one tip: plan ahead. “Do anything you can online,” he said.

That includes payment of the I-94 permit for visitors planning to travel further than 25 miles from the border in the U.S., and the Forma Migratoria Multiple for U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico. Parking and CBX tickets can also be reserved online.

Both Tijuana International Airport and CBX are expected to break passenger records this year.

So far in 2022, the Tijuana airport has received a record 11 million passengers, while CBX expects to close the year with 4.2 million passengers.

In 2021, CBX welcomed over 2.7 million passengers, a 64 percent increase compared to 2020.