BVI, Caribbeanand International News

Residents frustrated over wait times at Road Town Ferry Dock

Residents frustrated over wait times at Road Town Ferry Dock

There are mounting concerns about the long wait residents have to endure when trying to re-enter the territory through the Road Town Ferry Dock.
This is because of a faulty or broken Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosk which the government recently placed at the territory’s air and seaports to expedite entry for returning locals holding a British Virgin Islands or United Kingdom passport.

The kiosk is supposed to enable eligible travellers to scan their passports and respond to entry questions relating to immigration. The government had also said the systems would be able to perform a facial recognition verification of the travellers.

But one member of the BVI News team who travelled through the Road Town Ferry Dock recently observed that the one kiosk present was “out of order” while there was a queue waiting to use it. Eventually, a staff member at the Ferry Dock was able to fix the kiosk but residents complained about having to join another queue to be verified by a Customs officer after using the kiosks that reportedly should cover immigration processes.

BVI News also noticed that there were not enough Customs and Immigration officers to serve the number of residents waiting to be processed.

Our news centre further observed that the queue to process visitors was also long. A taxi operator who services visitors also told our news centre that tourists have been complaining about the discomfort and long wait they have to endure at the Road Town Ferry Dock.

The issue with the kiosk and long wait times has raised questions about the readiness of the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport, which is expected to start accepting increased flights from American Airlines in June 2023.

When the kiosks were announced back in August, the government had said it was a significant milestone to enhance services and improve the territory’s border security.

The launch of the kiosks was also described as ‘timely’ in preparing for the next tourist season.

The system’s next phase entails launching a small vessel and aircraft portal which will allow pre-clearance for private/charter vessels, day-trippers, and private/charter aircraft. Additionally, Entry and Debarkation (ED) cards online-processing is underway.

There are also plans to make the kiosks available to nationalities entering the territory.

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