Vancouver Officials at Vancouver's passport issuing office were last week forced to take action regarding a problem that has turned the city into one of haves and have-nots. If you have a passport, you are one of the lucky ones. If you do not, get ready to join the queue. For reasons that have baffled officials at Passport Canada, the line-up to get or renew a Canadian passport in Vancouver has lately become a long one. Uncommonly long. Seething applicants have been forced to join the queue outside the Passport Canada office as early as 3am, 41/2 hours before the office opened. The problems are at least partly due to new rules in the US that came into effect in January, requiring anyone entering the country by air to show a passport. By 2008, anyone entering by land or sea will have to do so as well. For Canadians who live close to the border, such as those in Vancouver, the easy drive to the US with only a piece of photo ID is quickly becoming a thing of the past. The new rules inspired an increase in the number of passport applicants, but Passport Canada said that only goes part of the way towards explaining the epic queues that have become typical. 'There are long lines everywhere, but it is very long in Vancouver. We're not sure why,' said Passport Canada official Fabien Langelle. Colleen MacDonald, who plans to travel this spring, thought she was playing it safe when she woke up at 5am recently to drive in to the passport office from her suburban Port Moody home. At the last moment, she stuck an old lawn chair into the boot of her car. She was glad she did when she saw the long line that had already formed when she arrived. Ahead of her were dozens of people, and only a few had chairs. The rest had to stand. In line, Ms MacDonald began hearing other people's stories. Many of the people who were waiting had taken the day off work or from school to get in their applications. Others were angry at the few who had taken advantage of the situation and found ways to make money. One girl was in line that day for someone else and was being paid C$60 (HK$420) to wait. As a retired teacher, Ms MacDonald said she found it difficult to accept having to wait outside in the rain while the line slowly moved forward. 'It's like taking a school full of kids and saying 'everyone stand outside until I can talk to each one of you one at a time',' she said. 'We were joking about doing a rebellion.' Ms MacDonald said she and others talked about instituting an honour system where people would write their names on a piece of paper and then be given a number, so they could leave the line and come back to find their place intact. Finally, late last week, Passport Canada heard the rumblings and started such a system. The idea is the same one Ms MacDonald and others suggested on their own earlier. Take a number, get an estimate of when the number will come up, and then return at that hour. It beats waiting six to eight hours, as many have, just to find out the office is about to close. The ticketing system is so simple, it is frustrating to think that it was not instituted earlier, said Johanne Leach. The week before last, she waited six hours getting soaked in the rain before giving up. 'This government could have learned a lot from Disneyland about how to do a better line-up,' she said.