Title: Fish and Wildlife Service logo - Description: Fish and Wildlife Service logo

265 FW 5
Temporary Duty Travel - Transportation

Supersedes 265 FW 5, 12/10/2009

Date: April 7, 2021

Series: Finance

Part 265: Travel

Originating Office: Branch of Financial Policy and Analytics

PDF Version

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Topics

Sections

OVERVIEW

5.1 What is the purpose of this chapter?

5.2 What is the scope of this chapter?

5.3 What is the overall policy?

5.4 What are the authorities for this chapter?

5.5 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter?

RESPONSIBILITIES

5.6 What are the responsibilities related to transportation for travel?

COMMERCIAL AIR

5.7 What are the requirements for using commercial air service?

5.8 When can a traveler select an airfare that is not a city pair airfare?

5.9 How does a traveler obtain approval to fly on a non-contract carrier?

5.10 When can a traveler select a non-refundable airfare?

5.11 What costs will the Service pay for checking baggage?

5.12 What is the Service's policy on first class, business class, and economy plus airline tickets?

5.13 Can a traveler upgrade the class of their airline ticket at their own expense?

5.14 What if multiple airlines offer the same fare?

5.15 What if a traveler needs to change or cancel a ticketed airfare?

5.16 What if a traveler is denied boarding or voluntarily vacates their seat?

TRAIN, BUS, OR SHIP

5.17 When can travelers travel by train, bus, or ship rather than common air carrier?

5.18 What must a traveler consider when traveling by train, bus or ship for personal reasons?

RENTAL CARS, TAXIS, ETC.

5.19 When may travelers rent a car for TDY travel?

5.20 What must a traveler consider when renting a car at a TDY location?

5.21 Can travelers use the prepaid fuel option, Global Positioning System (GPS), or automated toll payment system upgrades the rental car companies offer?

5.22 What are the traveler’s responsibilities if an accident occurs in a rental vehicle during official travel?

5.23 How should travelers handle a rental car issue (e.g., flat tire) during official travel?

5.24 What is the policy on using a rental car for personal reasons during official travel?

5.25 When must a traveler take a taxi, ridesharing company, shuttle, or local transit service while on TDY travel instead of renting a car?

PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE (POV)

5.26 What must travelers consider when using their POV for TDY travel?

5.27 How does the Service calculate POV mileage reimbursement?

COST COMPARISONS

5.28 When must travelers compare costs for travel?

5.29 How do travelers complete cost comparisons?

5.30 Are there exceptions where the Service may reimburse a traveler for a more expensive itinerary when cost comparison is required?

COMBINING OFFICIAL AND PERSONAL TRAVEL

5.31 What is the policy on combining official and personal travel?

5.32 How does a traveler combine official and personal travel?

OFFICIAL DEVIATIONS

5.33 What are a traveler’s responsibilities when a TDY trip is interrupted with an official deviation?

 

OVERVIEW

 

5.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter provides guidance and procedures for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employees and non-employees (called “travelers” throughout this chapter) who use transportation while performing official Temporary Duty Travel (TDY) on behalf of the Service.

 

5.2 What is the scope of this chapter? 

 

A. This chapter applies only to transportation for TDY travel.

 

B. This chapter does not cover:

 

(1) Permanent Change of Station (PCS) travel (see 266 FW 1),

 

(2) Temporary Change of Station (TCS) travel (see Federal Travel Regulation (FTR), 41 CFR Part 302, Subpart E), or

 

(3) Local travel in and around a permanent duty station (see 265 FW 12).

 

5.3 What is the overall policy? Travelers must:

 

A. Use the mode of transportation that is most advantageous to the Government to conduct official TDY travel.

 

(1) The two most advantageous modes of transportation are common carrier airfare and Government-Owned Vehicles (GOV).

 

(2) When an Approving Official determines an automobile is the most advantageous method of transportation, the order of preference is:

 

(a) GOV,

 

(b) Commercial rental car, and

 

(c) Privately-Owned Vehicle (POV).

 

(3) Travelers are responsible for any additional cost when they use an alternate mode of transportation.

 

B. Use the electronic travel system or Travel Management Center (TMC) to locate and reserve common carrier transportation for official TDY travel.

 

C. Obtain authorization for each mode of transportation (e.g., air, rental car, taxi, etc.) before traveling in order to claim reimbursement for these expenses. The electronic travel system creates an official record of approval when the approving official digitally signs the travel authorization in the system.

 

5.4 What are the authorities for this chapter? See 265 FW 1 for a list of the authorities for all the chapters in Part 265.

 

5.5 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter? 

 

A. Approving officials are supervisors, Directorate members (i.e., Regional Directors; Assistant Directors; Director, National Conservation Training Center (NCTC); Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS)), and other officials who approve travel-related transactions (e.g., authorizations and vouchers).

 

B. Business class is between coach and first class in terms of cost and amenities. Business class is also referred to as “business elite,” “business first,” “world business,” “connoisseur,” or “envoy.”

 

C. Common carrier refers to transportation by aircraft, train, bus, ship, or local transit system.

 

D. Economy/coach class is the basic class of accommodation that an airline offers and is generally the lowest-cost fare available. Economy class is also referred to as “tourist class,” “coach class,” or “single class.”

 

E. Economy/coach plus is higher than economy and lower in cost and amenities than first and business class. Economy plus has seats with extra leg room and may also be called “coach elite,” “coach plus,” or “preferred coach.”

 

F. Electronic travel system (i.e., ConcurGov) is an automated, web-based process that Service employees and approving officials use to plan, document, manage, and monitor TDY travel (see 265 FW 2). ConcurGov is the Service’s current electronic travel system.

 

G. First class is the highest class of accommodation in terms of cost and amenities.

 

H. TDY travel is travel that is performed for official purposes and is over 50 miles from the traveler’s permanent duty station and commuting residence.

 

I. Travelers are employees and non-employees who are authorized to conduct TDY travel on behalf of the Service.

 

J. Travel Arranger is a staff member who books, documents, and adjusts travel reservations on behalf of others, including invitational travelers. The staff member could be a Service employee or a contractor.

 

K. Travel authorization is the form we use to approve official TDY travel and travel-related expenses. These forms are created and approved in the electronic travel system. All travelers must receive written authorization from their approving official before traveling, except in bona fide emergencies (see 265 FW 4 for more information).

 

L. Travel Management Center (TMC) (i.e., Duluth and El Sol Travel) is responsible for assisting travelers with booking and adjusting travel itineraries. The TMC charges higher fees to assist with booking travel and adjusting reservations than those associated with self-service booking through ConcurGov.

 

M. Travel voucher is the form we use to approve travelers for reimbursement of travel-related expenses. These forms are created and approved in the electronic travel system.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

 

5.6 What are the responsibilities related to transportation for travel? See Table 5-1. (For a listing of which officials have to concur with and approve different classes of travel, also see section 5.12, which provides them by class.)

 

Table 5-1: Responsibilities for Transportation for TDY Travel

These employees…

Are responsible for…

A. Assistant Secretary – Policy, Management, and Budget (PMB)

Approving the use of first class transportation accommodations.

B. Director, Office of Financial Management (PFM) in the Department of the Interior (Department)

Concurring with the use of first class transportation accommodations before the request is given to the Assistant Secretary – PMB.

C. The Director

(1) Approving or declining to approve Servicewide policy; and

 

(2) Concurring with the use of first class transportation accommodations before the request is given to the Director, PFM, in the Department.

D. Assistant Director – Management and Administration (i.e., AD-MA or Associate Chief Financial Officer)

(1) Concurring with the use of first class transportation accommodations before the request is given to the Director, and

 

(2) Approving the use of business class transportation accommodations.

E. Joint Administrative Operations (JAO) Administrative Operations Center (AOC), Financial Operations Division Chief

Providing guidance on TDY travel-related issues as necessary.

F. JAO AOC, Safety Operations Division Chief

Concurring with the use of first class or business class transportation accommodations before the request is given to the AD-MA.

G. JAO AOC, Travel and Charge Card Operations Branch Chief

Providing guidance on TDY travel-related issues as necessary.

H. JAO AOC Travel Team (i.e., Federal Agency Travel Administrators (FATA), Audit team, Help Desk team)

(1) Providing travelers with guidance on the FTR and Departmental and Service travel policies, and

 

(2) Processing ConcurGov profile maintenance and routing list forms.

I. Approving Officials (i.e., Directorate members, Project Leaders, or Supervisors)

(1) Reading and becoming familiar with TDY travel policy;

 

(2) Complying with the FTR and Departmental and Service policies;

 

(3) Limiting authorization of expenses to those that are necessary to complete the official purpose of a trip in the most expeditious and cost-effective manner;

 

(4) Determining the most advantageous mode of transportation;

 

(5) Authorizing the following methods of travel in this order of preference:

 

(a) Common carrier (i.e., aircraft, train, bus, ship, or local transit system),

 

(b) GOV,

 

(c) Commercial rental car, and

 

(d) POV;

 

(6) Concurring with the use of first class or business class transportation accommodations before the request is given to the Safety Operations Division Chief;

 

(7) Approving the use of economy plus transportation accommodations; and

 

(8) Using the electronic travel system in adherence with the FTR.

J. Travelers

(1) Reading and becoming familiar with TDY travel policy,

 

(2) Complying with the FTR and Departmental and Service policies,

 

(3) Selecting the most advantageous mode of transportation,

 

(4) Traveling by the most direct, commonly traveled route unless pre-approval is obtained for a deviation, and

 

(5) Using the electronic travel system in adherence with the FTR.

K. Travel Arranger

(1) Reading and becoming familiar with TDY travel policy, and

 

(2) Using the electronic travel system in adherence with the FTR.

 

COMMERCIAL AIR

 

5.7 What are the requirements for using commercial air service? Travelers:

 

A. May use a commercial air service when the official TDY location is 350 miles or farther from the traveler’s commuting residence or permanent duty station;

 

B. Must use the electronic travel system or contact the TMC to locate and book flights;

 

C. Must travel by the most cost-effective and efficient route by selecting the most direct route on a carrier under contract with the General Services Administration's (GSA) City Pair Program (i.e., contract city pair airfare);

 

D. Must use coach or economy class service, unless they have received appropriate approval to use another class of service; and

 

E. Must use U.S. flag air carriers unless they have received appropriate approval to use a foreign air carrier, as permitted under regulations or an international agreement.

 

5.8 When can a traveler select an airfare that is not a city pair airfare? Travelers must use contract city pair airfares whenever they are available. Travelers may select fares offered by non-contract carriers only if:

 

A. Space is not available on scheduled city pair flights to accomplish the purpose of the TDY trip on time.

 

B. Use of the city pair flights would require that the traveler incurs unnecessary overnight lodging that would make the total cost of the trip higher than using the non-contract fare.

 

C. The non-contract carrier offers a lower fare to the general public that, if a traveler books it using the electronic travel system or TMC, would result in a lower total trip cost (based on the combined costs of transportation, lodging, meals, additional hours, and related expenses). This exception may not be used if a city pair carrier offers the same fare and has available seats.

 

D. Group travel must be booked for 10 or more passengers traveling together on the same flight for the same official business, and it is not available on city pair flights.

 

E. The city pair flight is not available between the commercial airports that service the traveler’s official duty station and the arrival airports at the TDY location.

 

5.9 How does a traveler obtain approval to fly on a non-contract carrier? Travelers must obtain pre-authorization from their approving official on a case-by-case basis. The traveler documents the non-contract fare approval by including the appropriate reason code on the travel authorization. If a traveler purchases a non-contract fare without prior authorization, they must pay the difference in cost with personal funds, including any penalties associated with flight changes and cancellations. Use of a non-contract carrier as a preference to earn frequent flyer benefits is not an acceptable justification.

 

5.10 When can a traveler select a non-refundable airfare? Travelers should use caution when purchasing non-refundable fares due to the significant fees associated with changing or cancelling a ticket. Before purchasing a non-refundable ticket, a traveler must be able to answer “yes” to all of the following questions:

 

A. Does one of the allowable exceptions from section 5.8 apply?

 

B. Have they received approval from their approving official to book a non-contract fare?

 

C. Is the traveler confident that the official business trip will occur without any schedule changes?

 

D. Does the traveler travel three or more times per year?

 

5.11 What costs will the Service pay for checking baggage? We will pay for a traveler to travel with one bag, within the airline's allowable weight limit, if the airline charges a baggage fee. An approving official may authorize a traveler to exceed the one-bag limit and incur the additional fees if they are carrying equipment or materials required for the official portion of the trip.

 

5.12 What is the Service's policy on first class, business class, and economy plus airline tickets?

 

A. First class accommodations.

 

(1) All requests for first class travel require approval on the TDY Travel – Discretionary and Trip-by-Trip Entitlements Form (FWS Form 3-2388) from the following officials in this order:

 

(a) Approving official,

 

(b) Safety Operations Division Chief,

 

(c) Assistant Director – Management and Administration,

 

(d) Director,

 

(e) Department’s Office of Financial Management (PFM) Director, and

 

(f) Assistant Secretary – Policy, Management, and Budget (PMB).

 

(2) First class may be approved when one of the following circumstances is justified and documented on the TDY Travel – Discretionary and Trip-by-Trip Entitlements Form (FWS Form 3-2388) and included with the receipt packet:

 

(a) For an urgent trip, coach class is not reasonably available under city pair and non-contract carriers within 24 hours of the traveler’s proposed departure or arrival time at the TDY location. The traveler must explain in writing the need for the urgency, the reason the trip cannot be postponed, and how a delay would endanger the mission. The explanation should describe when the traveler became aware of the travel requirement and when they began to schedule the trip, including reasons for failure to make advance arrangements;

 

(b) Use of first class is necessary to accommodate a traveler’s special need or disability:

 

(i) The traveler must provide current medical documentation supporting the request to use premium class accommodations. Unless documented as a permanent condition, the traveler must re-certify the medical need on an annual basis.

 

(ii) Alternatives must be considered before authorizing first class accommodations;

 

(c) Exceptional security circumstances require the use of first class accommodations (e.g., use of economy/coach class would endanger the life of the traveler); or

 

(d) Lower classes of accommodations on an approved foreign air carrier do not meet minimum health standards.

 

B. Business class accommodations. 

 

(1) All requests for business class travel require approval on the TDY Travel – Discretionary and Trip-by-Trip Entitlements Form (FWS Form 3-2388) from:

 

(a) Approving official,

 

(b) Safety Operations Division Chief, and

 

(c) Assistant Director – Management and Administration.

 

(2) Business class may be approved when one of the following circumstances is justified and documented on the TDY Travel – Discretionary and Trip-by-Trip Entitlements Form (FWS Form 3-2388) and included in the receipt packet:

 

(a) Origin or destination is OCONUS (Outside of the Continental United States) and the scheduled flight time (including stopovers and plane changes) is more than 14 hours.

 

(i) This 14-hour rule may only be used when the traveler is required to report for duty the same or following day. Total flight time does not include time spent at the originating or final arrival airport. If business class is authorized, the traveler is not eligible for a rest stop en route or upon arrival.

 

(ii) A rest stop or rest period should be considered in lieu of authorizing business class accommodations, when feasible.

 

(b) Flying business class results in overall cost savings for the Government.

 

C. Economy plus accommodations.

 

(1) All requests for economy plus class travel require approval on the TDY Travel – Discretionary and Trip-by-Trip Entitlements Form (FWS Form 3-2388) from the traveler’s approving official.

 

(2) Economy plus may be approved when one of the following circumstances is justified and documented on the TDY Travel – Discretionary and Trip-by-Trip Entitlements Form (FWS Form 3-2388) and included in the receipt packet:

 

(a) The traveler has physical characteristics that would cause significant discomfort if seated in coach class, or

 

(b) The upgrade is in the best interest of the Government (e.g., only seat available).

 

5.13 Can a traveler upgrade the class of their airline ticket at their own expense?

 

A. Travelers may upgrade official travel to first class, business class, or economy plus at their own personal expense without any additional approval. The traveler must use a personal credit card or other personal form of payment to cover the cost associated with the upgrade.

 

B. Travelers may retain any rewards they earn through airline loyalty programs. A traveler may upgrade official air travel to premium class by using a "free upgrade" earned through participation in a loyalty program or paying with a personal credit card or other personal form of payment without any additional approval. Travelers should contact the TMC to book flights for official travel using rewards earned through airline loyalty programs.

 

5.14 What if multiple airlines offer the same fare? If two or more airlines offer the same non-contract fare and no lower cost city pair airfare exists, travelers should consider the following when choosing between the options:

 

A. Does the timing of the flights differ? Will this difference impact the overall performance of the TDY mission? If so, the traveler should pick the fare that would best result in the accomplishment of the mission.

 

B. Does the traveler belong to an airline loyalty program? If so, the traveler should use the airline that will provide benefits to defray the cost of travel (e.g., free checked baggage).

 

5.15 What if a traveler needs to change or cancel a ticketed airfare?

 

A. Change or cancel for official business reasons:

 

(1) Ticketed refundable airfare is cancelled: The traveler must ensure the cancelled airfare is refunded on their Government-issued travel charge card.

 

(2) Ticketed airfare is downgraded to a lower fare: The traveler must instruct the airline to apply the credit directly to their Government-issued travel charge card.

 

(3) Ticketed airfare is partially used: The traveler must notify the TMC and document on their travel voucher the cost associated with the portion of the ticket that was used.

 

B. Change or cancel for personal convenience: The traveler is responsible for covering any costs associated with the change or cancellation.

 

5.16 What if a traveler is denied boarding or voluntarily vacates their seat?

 

A. Denied boarding. If a traveler is denied boarding for no fault of their own and receives compensation from the airline, the compensation is the property of the Service.

 

(1) When compensation is a voucher: The traveler should retain the voucher and apply it on their next official trip.

 

(2) When compensation is a check: The traveler must ensure the check is made payable to the “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” and send it to a collection officer for processing (see 261 FW 1).

 

B. Voluntarily vacates seat. A traveler may voluntarily vacate a seat to receive compensation (e.g., on an overbooked flight) if the official purpose of the trip will not be affected and the Service will not incur additional costs as a result of the change. The traveler must take leave for any additional time spent traveling during duty hours as a result. The traveler may keep the airline compensation for personal use.

 

TRAIN, BUS, OR SHIP

 

5.17 When can travelers travel by train, bus, or ship rather than common air carrier?

 

A. Travelers may travel by train, bus, or ship instead of common air carrier only when an approving official determines it is beneficial to the Government, or the traveler has a current statement from a medical authority indicating that they are unable to travel by air (see sections 5.19 – 5.25 for information about using rental cars).

 

B. For travel by train, bus, or ship the traveler must:

 

(1) Justify use in the travel authorization, and

 

(2) Use the most cost-efficient class of service available (e.g., coach class on Amtrak Regional, business class on Amtrak Acela Express).

 

C. If an approving official authorizes travel by train, bus, or ship for medical reasons, the traveler must provide current medical documentation supporting the request.

 

5.18 What must a traveler consider when traveling by train, bus, or ship for personal reasons? The traveler:

 

A. Must take annual leave to offset the difference in travel time between the lowest cost itinerary and the total travel time;

 

B. May only claim per diem for the amount of time associated with the lowest cost itinerary; and

 

C. Is responsible for any additional costs that result from choosing to travel by train, bus, or ship (e.g., lodging) and must complete the Cost Comparison Form (FWS Form 3-2387) to document these costs.

 

RENTAL CARS, TAXIS, ETC.

 

5.19 When may travelers rent cars for TDY travel?

 

A. A traveler may only rent a car when:

 

(1) An approving official determines it is beneficial to the Government, and

 

(2) It is specifically addressed in the travel authorization.

 

B. Approving officials evaluate rental car requests and only approve them when:

 

(1) Travel by an alternate mode of transportation would be unduly burdensome, or

 

(2) There is no other mode of transportation (e.g., taxi, shuttle).

 

5.20 What must a traveler consider when renting a car at a TDY location?

 

A. Travelers must obtain rental cars using the electronic travel system or TMC, which means they will be covered by the Department of Defense (DOD) U.S. Government Car Rental Agreement. If multiple participating rental car companies are available, the traveler must select a vendor based on the lowest cost when considering all factors (e.g., location of pick-up and drop-off points, availability of compact size cars). Travelers must explain on the travel authorization and voucher if they rent from a company that is not a DOD-contracted rental car company.

 

B. Travelers must rent a compact size car unless they request approval for vehicle upgrades under the following circumstances:

 

(1) Transporting equipment or materials required for the official portion of the trip that take up more space than is available in a compact car,

 

(2) Providing transportation to three or more other Service employees on official travel,

 

(3) In need of a 4x4 vehicle to safely complete the trip because of inclement weather or off-road terrain,

 

(4) A documented medical condition that requires use of a larger vehicle, or

 

(5) The traveler is a physical size where it would not be safe to operate a compact vehicle.

 

C. If there is no cost to the Government, a traveler may participate in a rental car company's loyalty program and earn coupons or promotional benefits during official travel that can be redeemed later. The traveler may redeem a loyalty program benefit for a free day of rental service, but may not upgrade to a larger car unless they qualify for an exception to policy.

 

5.21 Can travelers use the prepaid fuel option, Global Positioning System (GPS), or automated toll payment system upgrades the rental car companies offer?

 

A. Prepaid fuel option. Travelers must not allow rental car companies to include the prepaid fuel option on their rental agreements. Travelers must refuel rental cars prior to returning them and save the receipts for their vouchers. We will allow an exception if the traveler is:

 

(1) In an area where they are fearful for their physical safety or there are other compelling circumstances, and

 

(2) The approving official authorizes the prepaid fuel option.

 

B. GPS. GPS is normally not a necessary expense for TDY travel. Approving officials may only authorize this expense:

 

(1) To assist in accomplishing an active law enforcement mission,

 

(2) When required for a firefighting mission,

 

(3) When renting a vehicle in a foreign country, or

 

(4) When required to access extremely remote locations without clearly marked road signs.

 

C. Automated toll payment systems. Travelers may use automated toll payment systems (e.g., EZ Pass®, FasTrak, ExpressToll, TollTag, etc.) when required. If the use of such technology is required or embedded in the rental car agreement, the Service may reimburse the traveler for it.

 

5.22 What are the traveler's responsibilities if an accident occurs in a rental vehicle during official travel?

 

A. If the traveler is in an accident in a rental vehicle during official travel, they must:

 

(1) Stop immediately and take steps to prevent another accident at the scene,

 

(2) Call for emergency medical assistance, if necessary,

 

(3) Notify the police and obtain a copy of the police report,

 

(4) Not sign any documents or make any statement as to which party was at fault, and

 

(5) Notify their approving official and the rental car company as soon as possible, and submit a copy of the policy accident report to the rental car company.

 

B. The rental car company may not bill travelers directly for damages. If the rental car company attempts to bill the traveler or requests the name of a personal insurance company, the traveler should not provide any personal insurance information, but should contact the TMC that arranged the rental and the rental car company’s national office instead.

 

C. The Service will cover the total cost associated with the damages only if the accident occurred within the scope of the traveler's official duties and the traveler did not violate the terms of the U.S. Government Car Rental Agreement.

 

(1) If the Service finds that the accident was due to negligence or was unrelated to the traveler's official duties, the traveler may be held personally liable and must pay any additional cost with personal funds within 30 days of returning the vehicle.

 

(2) If the traveler did not rent the car under the U.S. Government Car Rental Agreement, the Acquisition and Property Operations team must consider whether to ratify the contract that the traveler signed with the vendor. If the Acquisition and Property Operations team ratifies the contract, the Service may cover some or all of the costs associated with the accident. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis.

 

(3) We investigate car accidents in accordance with 240 FW 7 and complete reports in accordance with 320 FW 3.

 

5.23 How should the traveler handle a rental car issue (e.g., flat tire) during official travel?

 

A. Travelers having issues with rental cars should contact the rental car company and follow the company's instructions to resolve the issue.

 

(1) When a traveler rents a car under the U.S. Government Car Rental Agreement, the rental car company pays for repairs and services (e.g., auto repair company, tow truck company) directly. The company may not charge the Government-issued travel charge card for any costs associated with any damages or repairs. Since the rental car company bears the cost associated with resolving the issue, the costs are not reimbursable to the traveler.

 

(2) If a traveler rents a car from a company that does not participate in the U.S. Government Car Rental Agreement and the rental car company tells the traveler to pay for the cost of the repairs or services, the traveler may use their Government-issued travel charge card.

 

(a) The rental car company should deduct the cost from the rental fee. The traveler must provide an explanation of the situation in the travel voucher and attach an itemized receipt as part of the receipt packet.

 

(b) If the rental car company does not deduct the cost from the rental fee, the traveler should include this information in the report that they file upon returning from TDY travel to ensure that the Service addresses the issue during the investigation.

 

B. There are some rental car issues that the U.S. Government Car Rental Agreement does not cover. The traveler must pay for all of the following situations at their own expense:

 

(1) Locking the keys in a rental car;

 

(2) Traffic or parking violations, regardless of whether the traveler was performing official Government business at the time of the violation; and

 

(3) Repairs resulting from negligence or recklessness.

 

5.24 What is the policy on using a rental car for personal reasons during official travel?

 

A. The U.S. Government Car Rental Agreement only covers a traveler when they use a rental car to conduct official Government business. They must limit personal use of the rental car to activities required to ensure sustenance, health, and comfort while performing Government business. For example, the traveler may use the rental car to get meals at a nearby restaurant or food store or to travel to a doctor's office, hospital, pharmacy, barber shop, place of worship, or dry cleaning establishment.

 

B. When a traveler rents a car for a trip that includes both official and personal travel (also see sections 5.31 and 5.32), they must:

 

(1) Ask the rental car company whether it is possible to split the rental period into two agreements: one for official travel covered under the U.S. Government Car Rental Agreement and a separate agreement for the personal portion of the trip.

 

(2) Not use their Government-issued travel charge card or claim reimbursement for the cost associated with the personal rental.

 

(3) If it is not possible for the company to split the agreement and the traveler wants to rent the same vehicle, the traveler must return the car at the end of the official portion of the trip and re-rent the car for the personal portion of the trip, or vice versa, under a separate reservation.

 

C. Members of a traveler’s family may ride in a car rented under the U.S. Government Car Rental Agreement, but must not drive the rental car unless they are Federal Government employees acting within the scope of their assigned duties.

 

D. Only U.S. Government employees may operate a car rented under the U.S. Government Car Rental Agreement.

 

5.25 When must a traveler take a taxi, ridesharing company, shuttle, or local transit service while on TDY travel instead of renting a car?

 

A. The traveler must use a taxi, ridesharing company (e.g., Uber, Lyft), shuttle, or local transit service when it is cheaper than obtaining a rental car. We will reimburse for taxi, ridesharing companies, shuttle, and local transit services, as well as reasonable tips (no more than 20%).

 

B. The traveler must use complimentary shuttles, when available. We will reimburse for tips up to $2 per large bag when using complimentary shuttles.

 

PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE (POV)

 

5.26 What must travelers consider when using their POV for TDY travel?

 

A. Travelers must get authorization from their approving official to perform TDY travel by POV before they begin the trip. The approving official should consider the following to determine if using a POV is advantageous to the Government:

 

(1) Is there a safer mode of transportation available (e.g., common carrier, GOV, rental car)?

 

(2) Is the distance of the travel unreasonable to use common carrier transportation?

 

(3) Is a GOV available?

 

(4) Is there a rental car agency within a reasonable distance of the traveler’s official duty station or residence?

 

(5) Would the use of a POV result in a more expeditious trip?

 

B. Approving officials must not require that travelers use their POVs to perform official travel.

 

C. Travelers should review their personal insurance policy to ensure coverage.

 

5.27 How does the Service calculate POV mileage reimbursement?

 

A. The Service uses two General Services Administration (GSA) mileage reimbursement rates, available on GSA’s website, to calculate reimbursement for travel by POV:

 

(1) A rate for travel by POV that is beneficial to the Government, and

 

(2) A lower rate when a GOV is available and the traveler uses a POV for personal reasons.

 

B. In addition to selecting the appropriate reimbursement rate in the electronic travel system, the traveler must adhere to the following requirements when calculating mileage reimbursement:

 

(1) The starting point for the mileage calculation must match the starting point on the travel authorization. The starting point must be either the traveler's residence or duty station, depending on the location they depart from immediately before beginning TDY travel.

 

(2) We use map-based websites (e.g., Google Maps, etc.) to benchmark trip distances. If the mileage that the website calculates differs significantly from the mileage that the traveler reports, we will reimburse for the lesser of the two distances.

 

(3) GSA accounts for costs associated with fuel, maintenance, depreciation, taxes, and insurance when setting mileage reimbursement rates. We will not reimburse the traveler for any costs associated with fuel, additional insurance coverage, repairs, or accidents that occur while using a POV on TDY travel.

 

COST COMPARISONS

 

5.28 When must travelers compare costs for travel?

 

A. Travelers must compare costs for travel any time they:

 

(1) Select a mode of transportation that is not the most cost-effective method available,

 

(2) Select a route other than the most direct,

 

(3) Select a mode of transportation other than common carrier airfare to travel to a TDY location 350 miles or farther from their residence and official duty station, or

 

(4) Combine official and personal travel.

 

B. A cost comparison is not required if the travel authorization specifically authorizes an exception to policy.

 

5.29 How do travelers complete cost comparisons? Travelers must:

 

A. Compare costs prior to incurring them using the electronic travel system or by contacting the TMC,

 

B. Use the estimates to complete the Service’s TDY Travel – Cost Comparison Form (FWS Form 3-2387),

 

C. Include a copy of the signed form with the travel authorization, and

 

D. Submit the travel voucher for the total cost associated with the less expensive itinerary.

 

5.30 Are there exceptions where the Service may reimburse a traveler for a more expensive itinerary when cost comparison is required? Yes, approving officials may grant exceptions for:

 

A. Special circumstances directly related to the official purpose of the trip (e.g., transporting official equipment that cannot be shipped),

 

B. Circumstances where taking an indirect route is related to the official purpose of the trip (e.g., traveling to multiple TDY points with an indefinite meeting schedule), or

 

C. When medically necessary.

 

COMBINING OFFICIAL AND PERSONAL TRAVEL

 

5.31 What is the policy on combining official and personal travel? Travelers must receive authorization to conduct personal travel in conjunction with official travel. The approving official must ensure that the official travel is essential and the personal travel is only incidental to the official purpose of the trip.

 

5.32 How does a traveler combine official and personal travel? The process for combining official and personal travel differs, depending on whether the personal portion of the trip impacts the cost of transportation. The traveler must use the search tools in the electronic travel system or contact the TMC to estimate costs for the official itinerary and the combined official-personal itinerary and determine which of the following processes is applicable to the trip. The Service covers the cost of the fee the TMC charges for booking the itinerary.

 

A. If the personal travel does not impact the cost of transportation (e.g., extending a single-destination trip and traveling on a city pair fare), the traveler must:

 

(1) Book the trip for the combined official-personal duration in the electronic travel system.

 

(2)  Include a note in the travel authorization alerting the approving official of the intention to take personal leave in conjunction with official travel.

 

B. If the personal portion of the trip (called “personal deviation”) impacts the cost of transportation, the traveler must:

 

(1) Use the electronic travel system to estimate costs for the official itinerary and the combined official-personal itinerary and document these cost estimates on FWS Form 3-2387.

 

(2) Provide FWS Form 3-2387 and screenshots of any flight prices to the approving official for review. The approving official authorizes the traveler to conduct a personal deviation by approving the travel authorization and ensuring FWS Form 3-2387 is uploaded to the electronic travel system.

 

(3) Book the combined official-personal trip with the TMC and cover any costs associated with the personal deviation with a personal credit card or other personal form of payment.

 

(4) Remove per diem reimbursement from all days of personal travel included in the itinerary to ensure that the Government does not incur costs for any portion of the personal deviation.

 

(5) Include a copy of the approved FWS Form 3-2387, any supplemental documentation (e.g., screenshots), and the itinerary booked by the TMC with the receipt packet.

 

C. When the traveler books a combined official-personal trip, if the Service cancels the official portion of the trip and this causes the traveler to cancel the personal travel, the traveler must pay any cost associated with change or cancellation of the personal portion of the trip with personal funds. The Service will not reimburse travelers for these costs and fees.

 

OFFICIAL DEVIATIONS

 

5.33 What are the traveler's responsibilities when a TDY trip is interrupted with an official deviation? If a traveler's trip is interrupted with an official deviation (i.e., the traveler receives direction to perform TDY travel at another location), the traveler is responsible for contacting the TMC as soon as possible to adjust and cancel travel reservations as necessary. We will cover the cost associated with change fees and penalties only after determining that the traveler acted reasonably and responsibly in adjusting or cancelling reservations.

 

For more information about this policy, contact the Financial Policy and Analytics Branch. For more information about this website, contact Krista Bibb in the Policy and Regulations Branch (PRB), Division of Policy, Economics, Risk Management, and Analytics.

 

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