Bus lines speeding up wait times through new programs

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Customs and Border Protection is educating bus line companies and passengers about new programs they can take advantage of.

In a monthly meeting with officials from bus companies, CBP talked about these that can help reduce the wait times when crossing the border.

One program in particular is the Advanced Passenger Information System, or APIS.

The program allows bus companies to turn in a manifest to CBP ahead of time with all the information of every passenger on board.

“With that information they submit it to our system, which they have access to it,” said Herminia Martinez, CBP supervisor. “They submit the information to us and we vet everybody before they enter."

There are more than 100 bus lines in Laredo and along the border, and so far 40 companies have signed up for the free program.

There is another program that allows passengers to get the I-94 permit electronically, where passengers can pay ahead of time and then have 7 days to come to the port to get the permit.

The process will be quicker, since passengers will already be in the system.

Typically, the process can take 45 minutes, but if enrolled ahead of time, it can decrease to only 20.