OT: Scootering across border business

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Submitted by jpinpb on June 19, 2008 - 8:41am

One of those Why Didn't I Think of That moments.

(nostradamus - did you buy stock in scooters yet?)

By Jose Luis Jiménez

June 19, 2008

SAN YSIDRO – Jesús Alberto Nuñez walked up to the San Ysidro Port of Entry expecting to quickly cross into the United States. What the Tijuana resident found was a wait of at least an hour.

JOHN GIBBINS / Union-Tribune
Leticia Arde, who lives in Tijuana and works in San Diego, rode to the front of the line to cross the border into the United States. A company in San Ysidro is renting scooters in Tijuana for riders to cross the border, then turn them in.
Fearing he would be late to his job as a mechanic for the Metropolitan Transit System, he rented a scooter yesterday, snaked in between the waiting cars and drove to the front of the line. Minutes later, he was in San Ysidro and on a bus.

“I crossed really fast,” said Nuñez, who normally rides his motorcycle but left it at home. “If I had to, I would do it again.”

Almost as long as there has been a border, people have been cooking up schemes to cross it more quickly.

The latest is courtesy of International Car Rental, which will rent you a scooter for about $10 on the Tijuana side and instruct you how to get to the front of the crushing line of cars waiting to get into the United States. The scooter is then dropped off on the other side of the border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have instructed officers to treat the scooters like any other vehicle entering the United States, said Vince Bond, the agency's spokesman.

As for California's traffic laws, renters without a motorcycle license run the risk of getting a ticket, said Mike Marando, a DMV spokesman in Sacramento. State law requires anyone riding a two-wheeled motorized scooter with a gas engine smaller than 150 cubic centimeters to have at least an M2 motorcycle license, he said.

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