Kingston-area residents wishing to cross the border to the US say they have been experiencing long delays throughout the holidays, and those delays have been made significantly worse by the US-government shutdown.
Anne Marie Stenson, who had been trying to cross the border to the US on Boxing Day, said that some strategies being used to handle the government shutdown at the border were making delays worse. “U.S. federal employees not being paid; we were approximately the 300th vehicle in line, (and) they are only letting 40 cars through, then a 1/2 hour later they’ll let another 40 cars through, on and on it goes,” she said.
The delays persisted into the following day. “Bumper to bumper standstill at the Alexandria Bay crossing,” said Kingston resident Anne-Marie Duarte as she described her experience of trying to cross into the US on the morning of Thursday, December 27th. “This is before the toll booths and the bridge even,” she continued.
The government website which typically provides estimated border crossing times, on the other hand, did not reflect that experience. “No delay, 1 lane(s) open” for commercial travellers and “20 minute delay, 6 lane(s) open” for regular travellers crossing at Lansdowne/Alexandria Bay, said travel.gc.ca on Thursday morning at around 11 a.m., even while COMPASS traffic cameras captured vehicles stopped on the highway several kilometres away from the border. An explanation for the discrepancies had not been provided by publication time.
Some US government projections estimate that over 420,000 federal employees, including about 54,000 Customs and Border Protection Agents and Customs Officers, will be working without pay until the US government shutdown is over.
Travellers said they have experienced little to no delay in crossing from the US to Canada.