Malfunctioning Nexus machines spark traveller complaints
Published Monday, November 18, 2013 6:00AM PST Last Updated Monday, November 18, 2013 8:01PM PST
Many frequent travellers turn to a trusted traveler program like Nexus to get through customs and border security more quickly. But a frustrated Nexus member contacted CTV after he noticed an increasing number of malfunctioning machines at YVR customs.
Scott Mackenzie joined the trusted traveller program because he works for a software company and has to travel to the U.S. every couple of weeks. But more often than not, when he approached the Nexus terminal at Canada Customs he noticed several kiosks were not in service.
"You sign up as a trusted traveller for the Nexus program just with the expectation that you can get through customs and border security more quickly," Mackenzie said.
It happened so often that Mackenzie kept a tally of the number of machines that were operational. On several days throughout July to October, only two of the four machines were working.
Mackenzie complained to Vancouver airport officials, but they pointed the finger of blame at the Canadian Border Services Agency, which told CTV News that "due to high volume usage during peak periods, these kiosks may experience periodic or intermittent outages."
"When you arrive at customs and the terminals are broken or there's not enough capacity and you see people going through the non-Nexus lines quicker than the Nexus lines, it's a little frustrating as a traveler," said Mackenzie.
Mackenzie said he could understand if the outages were sporadic, but the machines are down frequently and he has the photos to prove it. He’s requesting the CBSA fix the machines it already has and add new ones to speed up the customs process.
"It would be nice to have more terminals so that if there are terminals down, which I’m sure happens on occasion, it won't impact the lineup as much as it does," he said.
The CBSA declined our request for an interview, but told us in an email that it's aware of the problem and is actively working to fix it. "The CBSA has begun the process to replace these aging kiosks and is beginning implementation of the new technology in the summer of 2014," the agency said.
Mackenzie said those changes can’t come soon enough.
According to the CBSA, if you encounter a non-operational kiosk – you can go to the special services counterto get expedited service.