What's the hold up?

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shandresha Mitchell
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Why does it take so long to get through the gates of MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in the morning? The wait time issue is far more in depth than most perceive.

Each day, more than 17K personnel are trying to report for duty; and many of the base's personnel are travelling southbound on small surface streets to one of four gates, three of which either have only one or two lanes. 

Factor in that all personnel trying to access the installation also have to contend with city of Tampa traffic lights, school busses, trash trucks, etc. Each one of these factors contributes to an increased wait time or traffic jam, along with the timing of traffic signals near the installation.

According to base Air Force Smart Operations of the 21st Century, on average, an estimated 7.4K common access cards are scanned for gate entry between 6 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

The gate wait time issue is currently being reviewed and addressed by Col. Daniel Tulley, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander, Col. Peter Santa Ana, 6th Mission Support Group commander, 6th Security Forces Squadron personnel, and AFSO21.

Until more factors come to light, safety and security are the main concerns before any plan is to be implemented. The planning process is still underway and meetings are conducted regularly to identify any headway into fixing the gate wait times. 

One proposed solution offered by Santa Ana is that members of the wing adapt staggered reporting. The purpose of staggered reporting is to reduce the number of cars and personnel trying to gain access to the base at given times. This process will alter the scheduled time members of the wing report for duty and hopefully reduce wait time and increase efficiency.

Until the review is finalized and a plan set in motion, the gate wait will continue to remain an issue. Below is a list of tips to assist in streamlining traffic and reducing the wait time.

· Have your CAC ready before getting to a SFS member.
· Don't have your music too loud.
· Pay attention to the car ahead of you.
· Leave home with gate wait times in mind.
· Ensure that your driver's license and registration are not expired.
· Don't use cross streets, they only increase the wait time.

Utilizing these tips can reduce the amount of time spent waiting to gain access to the installation and may ultimately solve the issue.