Terminal 2 – Cross Border Xpress (CBX)

About the Cross Border Xpress (CBX)

The Cross Border Xpress (CBX) terminal is an innovative and strategic facility that connects Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) in Mexico directly with San Diego, California, via a pedestrian bridge. This unique setup allows passengers to bypass traditional land border crossings, significantly reducing travel time and enhancing convenience.

Opened in December 2015, the CBX terminal has revolutionized cross-border travel between the United States and Mexico, particularly benefiting those in Southern California and Baja California. This article provides an in-depth look at the CBX terminal, its history, functionality, and the benefits it offers to travelers.

Historical Background

Early Efforts and Challenges

The concept of a cross-border terminal has a long history marked by numerous challenges and setbacks. Initial efforts in the early 1990s to establish a bi-national airport in the San Diego-Tijuana region faced economic and logistical hurdles. The recession in the early 1990s and declining land values in Otay Mesa led to the foreclosure of the proposed site for the cross-border terminal. The project was suspended multiple times as economic conditions and investment interest fluctuated.

Revitalization and Development

The idea was revived in the mid-2000s, with key figures such as Gilberto Valenzuela Ezquerro and Ralph Nieders playing pivotal roles in pushing the project forward. In 2006, new partnerships and strategic planning by Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) set the stage for the eventual construction of the CBX terminal. After extensive negotiations and planning, construction began in October 2013 on the Mexican side and in June 2014 on the U.S. side. The project was completed in December 2015, with a final cost of approximately $120 million, funded by private investors from both countries and GAP.

Features and Facilities

The CBX Terminal and Sky Bridge

The CBX terminal features a 390-foot enclosed pedestrian bridge that connects the Tijuana International Airport with its counterpart in San Diego. This bridge allows passengers to cross the border in just a few minutes, significantly reducing the time and hassle associated with traditional border crossings at San Ysidro or Otay Mesa. The terminal operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ensuring that travelers can access it at any time.

Services and Amenities

The CBX terminal offers a range of services and amenities designed to enhance the travel experience:

  • Parking: Secure and convenient parking options are available for travelers, with the ability to reserve spaces in advance.
  • Shuttle Services: Regular shuttle services connect CBX with various locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas.
  • Duty-Free Shopping: Passengers can enjoy duty-free shopping at the terminal.
  • Free WiFi: Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the terminal.
  • Food and Beverage: Options include a Starbucks and a food truck patio.
  • Carts and Porters: Free baggage carts and porters are available to assist with luggage.

Documentation and Immigration

To use the CBX terminal, passengers need to have the following documents:

  1. A valid passport.
  2. A CBX ticket.
  3. A completed Mexican Immigration Form (FMM).
  4. A boarding pass.

The FMM form can be completed online in advance or at the terminal. It is a requirement for all non-Mexican citizens entering Mexico and allows travel within Mexico for up to 180 days as a tourist.

How to Use the CBX Terminal

Crossing from the U.S. to Mexico

  1. Preparation: Ensure you have all necessary documents: passport, CBX ticket, FMM form, and boarding pass.
  2. Check-in: Upon arrival at the CBX terminal, check in for your flight and gather your documents.
  3. Crossing the Bridge: Scan your CBX ticket and passport at the automated gate to enter the pedestrian bridge. The walk across the bridge takes about three minutes.
  4. Immigration and Customs: At the end of the bridge, you will pass through Mexican immigration and customs, where your passport and FMM form will be checked.
  5. Security Check: After clearing immigration, proceed through a security checkpoint exclusive to CBX passengers.
  6. Proceed to Gate: Once through security, you can enter the main terminal of Tijuana International Airport and proceed to your gate.

Crossing from Mexico to the U.S.

  1. Arrival: After arriving at Tijuana International Airport, collect your luggage and follow signs to the CBX access gate.
  2. Document Check: Present your passport, CBX ticket, and boarding pass from your flight.
  3. Crossing the Bridge: Use the pedestrian bridge to cross into the U.S., where you will pass through U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  4. Exit: After clearing customs, you can exit the CBX terminal into San Diego.

Benefits of Using CBX

Time Efficiency

One of the primary benefits of using CBX is the significant reduction in travel time. Traditional border crossings at San Ysidro or Otay Mesa can involve long wait times, often exceeding an hour during peak periods. The CBX terminal allows passengers to bypass these congested crossings, making it possible to complete the entire border crossing process in just a few minutes.

Convenience and Comfort

The CBX terminal is designed with passenger comfort and convenience in mind. The enclosed pedestrian bridge protects travelers from the elements, and the availability of services such as duty-free shopping, free WiFi, and food and beverage options enhances the overall travel experience. The presence of baggage carts and porters further simplifies the journey, particularly for those traveling with heavy luggage.

Economic and Regional Impact

The CBX terminal has had a positive economic impact on the region by facilitating cross-border travel and trade. It has also boosted tourism, as travelers from the U.S. find it easier to access destinations in Baja California, such as Tijuana, Rosarito, and Ensenada. The terminal supports over 40 destinations within Mexico, making it a valuable gateway for both leisure and business travelers.

Security and Safety

The CBX terminal operates with stringent security measures, ensuring the safety of passengers. Both U.S. and Mexican authorities collaborate closely to maintain high standards of security and immigration control. The streamlined process reduces the potential for illegal crossings and enhances overall border security.

Conclusion

The Cross Border Xpress terminal represents a significant advancement in cross-border travel between the United States and Mexico. By providing a fast, convenient, and secure means of crossing the border, CBX has transformed the travel experience for millions of passengers. Its strategic importance, combined with a range of services and amenities, makes it an indispensable asset for the region. Whether for business or leisure, CBX offers an unparalleled level of convenience, making it the preferred choice for travelers moving between Southern California and Baja California.

Tijuana Cross Border Xpress FAQ

The CBX terminal is located at 2745 Otay Pacific Drive, San Diego, California 92154.

CBX is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

To use CBX, you need:

  1. A valid passport.
  2. A CBX ticket.
  3. A completed Mexican Immigration Form (FMM).
    Your boarding pass.

CBX tickets can be purchased online via the official CBX website, at the terminal, or through ticket kiosks located at the CBX terminal.

Yes, there is a fee for using the CBX bridge. Ticket prices vary depending on whether you purchase a one-way or round-trip ticket.

The FMM form can be completed online in advance or at the CBX terminal. It is required for all non-Mexican citizens entering Mexico. The form can be filled out online here and must be presented along with your passport upon crossing.

If you lose your CBX ticket, you can purchase a new one at the terminal or online.

  1. Collect Luggage: Collect your luggage upon arrival at Tijuana International Airport.
  2. Follow Signs: Follow signs to the CBX access gate.
  3. Document Check: Present your passport, CBX ticket, and boarding pass.
  4. Cross the Bridge: Use the pedestrian bridge to cross into the U.S.
  5. Customs and Border Protection: Pass through U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  6. Exit: Exit the CBX terminal into San Diego.

The CBX terminal offers:

  • Secure parking
  • Shuttle services to various locations
  • Duty-free shopping
  • Free WiFi
  • Food and beverage options, including Starbucks and a food truck patio
    Free baggage carts and porters

Yes, CBX offers shuttle services to various locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. Additionally, Uber and Lyft services are available at the terminal.

Yes, secure parking is available at the CBX terminal. You can reserve parking spaces in advance through the CBX website.

CBX maintains high standards of security in collaboration with U.S. and Mexican authorities. This includes automated gates for document scanning, a dedicated security checkpoint for CBX passengers, and thorough immigration and customs processes.

Yes, CBX is designed to provide a safe and secure environment for travelers. The enclosed pedestrian bridge and terminal facilities are equipped with modern security systems and procedures.

No, the CBX bridge is specifically for passengers with a valid boarding pass for a flight departing from or arriving at Tijuana International Airport.

For additional questions or support, you can contact CBX customer service at (888) 229-4636 or via email at support@crossborderxpress.com.

For more detailed information, you can visit the official CBX website or check travel resources such as Wikipedia and regional travel guides like San Diego.org.

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