Reimbursable transportation expenses include all necessary official travel on railroads, airlines, ships, buses, private automobiles, and other usual means of conveyance. (SAAM 10.50.10)
Residence and Official Station
Transportation costs between home and official station are a personal obligation of the employee. If a traveler's official residence is not located within the limits of his/her official station, travel expense reimbursement is allowed from official station or official residence, whichever is less. See 95.01 for definitions of official station and official residence.
When transportation on a scheduled airline is available, tourist-class air fare is the maximum amount that is reimbursed regardless of the mode of transportation actually used.
A traveler may elect to use a slower means of transportation instead of an available scheduled airline. In such a case, reimbursement for additional food and lodging expenses is not allowed. The difference in travel time between that spent on tourist air travel and the slower mode of transportation must be accounted for by leave status, e.g., annual leave.
Exceptions to this maximum allowance may be permitted under the following circumstances:
- When performance of the official mission requires that some other means of transportation be used, e.g., a truck to haul equipment.
- When the requirement results in undue hardship to the traveler.
- When the ultimate cost to the University is less. For example, when two or more employees travel together in the same automobile, the total transportation cost may be less than two tourist-class air fares. Other considerations include loss of productive time and increased food and lodging costs.
- When a flight to or from a point outside the continental U.S. is over 14 hours long (not including domestic layover time). In this case, business class (premium class other than first class) air fare may be permitted if the traveler has exhausted all state business frequent flyer miles available for an upgrade. The traveler's department is responsible for determining the availability of frequent flyer miles.
- When a non-air common carrier is used, business class may be approved when the higher class fare is necessary for having business interaction or for conducting state business while in route to the destination, and the higher class fare is less expensive than coach class airfare or is the only mode of travel available to arrive at the destination.
The responsible department chair, unit head, principal investigator, or project director must endorse a statement on a Travel Authority describing the extenuating circumstances that justify the exception. If the traveler is an administrator, his or her supervisor must endorse the statement. In the absence of a specific statement, travel by air coach or tourist class is presumed and authorized.
Route the exception Travel Authority to the Executive Director for Business Services/Controller prior to the trip.
Common carriers should be used in preference to other means of transportation. Scheduled airlines usually offer the greatest convenience at the least cost in terms of dollars and time.
Travelers are encouraged to utilize reduced-fare schedules or excursion rates whenever possible. Travelers should be aware that many carriers assess substantial penalty charges for cancellation of reduced-fare packages.
See 95.01 and 95.05.
Paying Common Carrier Fares
The following procurement methods are considered acceptable for obtaining common carrier tickets.
The traveler claims transportation expenses on a Travel Expense Voucher when the state travel charge card or personal resources are used. See 95.20 for Travel Expense Voucher instructions.
Regardless of the method used to pay for the common carrier expenses, the traveler must submit proof of payment of a common carrier ticket with the completed and approved Travel Expense Voucher in order to claim reimbursement for the expenses. Receipts are required and must be attached to the Travel Expense Voucher.
Expenditures for unofficial travel that constitutes an incidental portion of an official trip may be included in the total travel package purchased with a CTA. The traveler is responsible for reimbursing the University for unofficial travel. NOTE: When applicable, the traveler uses approved leave for the personal portion of the trip. See 95.17.
If there is an authorized change in itinerary, the employee may pay the added cost and claim reimbursement on a Travel Expense Voucher.
If the traveler does not use all or part of a ticket purchased with a CTA the traveler reports the fact to his or her department and provides documentation (e.g., tickets). The department works with the issuing bank (CTA or travel card), the airline, or travel agency to obtain refunds for CTA ticket purchases.
If the carrier makes a refund directly to the traveler, the refund must be taken to the Cashier's Window in the Controller's Office immediately after the traveler returns.
Motor Pool Vehicles
The WSU Motor Pool provides motor pool vehicles for official University business. Details are available in 95.35. The rate schedule is available from the Motor Pool Rates website at:
See 95.08 for details regarding taxi, city bus, streetcar, monorail, subway, airport limousine, etc.