Memo: Phoenix exploring getting rid of the TSA
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - People across the country are complaining about long TSA lines.
They say the agency isn't providing enough staff at airports, especially during the peak summer travel season. Phoenix aviation officials are considering getting rid of the TSA and hiring private security.
"There's just not enough people to get everyone through," said a traveler.
Now the TSA is moving 25 agents from Phoenix to other United States airports because of the high demand. This while Congress is calling for the head of the agency to answer for the long lines.
"Clearly the Summer travel season is going to be busy. In the short term, TSA, the airlines, airports, and Congress are working with travelers to improve the passenger experience while maintaining the security that is needed," said Peter Neffenger.
But the Phoenix Aviation Director in a city memo suggests the answer to excessive wait times isn't the TSA. The memo says the city should consider privatizing security screening efforts. It's part of a program called Screen Partnership Program in which an outside vendor would follow TSA guidelines.
"If they have a magic trick that might be cool, but honestly it's people corralling people. So I think unless everyone as a society makes a concerted effort to be more efficient, more respectful of peoples time, then I don't think a private company is going to change anything from TSA," said Katie Morris.
22 airports participate in the program; most are small, but San Francisco is a large airport in the program. According to the memo, the lines at SFO aren't any better than in Phoenix.
"I've heard it worked great in some places, but the scale was pretty small. So unless we can test it on a larger scale I would prob shy away from it," said Terry Hill.
"What's that going to mean is that some security is going to take longer at some airports, take longer at some airports than others. I just feel like it opens up the realm of things being very different from airport to airport," said Lauren Ghazikhanian.
If the city moves forward, they would have to apply to join the program, and it could take a 1 1/2 years for the airport screening to be fully privatized.