Border backlog: Five-second trick that could save hours

 

Police have pleaded with drivers to keep their border declaration passes up to date, saying just a five-second saving per car could prevent hours of queuing.

Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said a new pass - with a larger, more visible expiry date - came online yesterday.

The new passes allow police to immediately see that the occupants have made a declaration that they have not visited any of the new coronavirus hotspots like Liverpool and Campbelltown.

"We have tens of thousands of vehicles (crossing the border) a day," he said.

"In really busy periods it could be up to 100,000 vehicles a day all wanting to enter our state.

"And the way we do that, particularly on our main arterial roads, the M1 and the Gold Coast Highway, is we have to reduce two lanes down to one and then we visually assess the vehicle and its documentation - that is the border declaration pass that should displayed."

He said whether a car had a properly displayed pass determined whether it was pushed through an express lane or stopped so police could question the occupants.

"Or indeed assist the driver and the occupants to go online and get a border declaration pass," Chief Supt Wheeler said.

 

Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler shows new-look border pass. Picture: Brianna Morris-Grant.
Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler shows new-look border pass. Picture: Brianna Morris-Grant.

"So, what that means is, the tens of thousands of vehicles that we're pushing through, bringing them into one lane, of course it's going to cause delays."

He said anyone who updated their border pass was helping reducing wait times at the crossings.

"Now, if we can save even five seconds per vehicle, and looking at it very conservatively, if we process 20,000 vehicles, that will equate to almost 30 hours of saved time across our system," Chief Supt Wheeler said.

"What we ask people to do, particularly, and I implore people, on the Tweed and Coolangatta sides of that border, closely follow announcements with respect to hotspots.

"If those people can have a current pass - and we saw a number go online yesterday and display those passes just after midday … those vehicles could be simply waved through without a formal stop and prop and question.

 

Police at the QLD border checking people before they enter the state. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Police at the QLD border checking people before they enter the state. Picture: Nigel Hallett

"That's not to say we won't still do random interceptions and check people and check the validity of their claims."

He said police pulled over 400 NSW-registered vehicles in a 90-minute window on the Gold Coast Highway yesterday that could have been waved through had they had the correct pass.

"And these people were clearly cross-border commuters and these are the people that are being affected by our border control operations," Chief Supt Wheeler said.

Commissioner Katarina Carroll asked that motorists be patient, saying the delays were helping keep Queenslanders safe.

"Some people have expressed their frustrations and I understand that," she said.

"This is about keeping our state very, very safe."

Originally published as Border backlog: Five-second trick that could save hours


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