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Mode of Transportation Comprehensive Policy

 


In keeping with State Statute (Section 25-3-41) of the Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated, Delta State University will make reimbursements to employees for transportation pertaining to official state business in accordance with the following guidelines.
 
Employees are required to compare each mode of transportation and select the most economical mode. If the most economical mode is not chosen, travel will only be reimbursed at the most economical rate. If the most economical mode is unavailable, the employee must provide supporting documentation justifying the request for the reimbursement of travel at a less economical rate.
 
 
None
 
 

Whether by public transportation, privately-owned vehicle, state-owned vehicle, etc., reimbursement will be made for the most direct practical route.  
 
Travel by Private Vehicle:
 
If a personal automobile or other private vehicle is the most economical mode of transportation or is the necessary mode of travel, the University will reimburse the employee at the official federal business travel rate for private vehicles. Reimbursement for the use of a personal automobile or other private motor vehicle for official state business includes private airplanes flown by the employee. The federal mileage rate can be viewed at http://www.dfa.state.ms.us/Purchasing/Travel/MileageRate.pdf.
 
When a determination is made that a rental vehicle is the more economical method of travel and there are no extenuating reasons why a rental could not be used, the employee will be reimbursed at the rental car rate as determined by referring to the Travel Decision Matrix.  The employee may still elect to travel in a personal vehicle and be reimbursed at the rental car rate.
Employees can go to /pages/552.asp and click on “Travel Decision Matrix” to get an estimate of rental reimbursement rates.   The matrix takes into account the daily rental rate and expected fuel costs for the number of anticipated miles to be driven and it is updated monthly to reflect changing fuel costs. 
 
When two or more employees travel in one private vehicle, only one travel expense at the authorized reimbursement rate shall be allowed.  The person claiming reimbursement shall report the names of other state employee passengers.
 
Travel by Rental Vehicle:
 
When employees will travel by rental car, reservations are to be made in compliance with the state contract and rates. Only the actual cost of the rental vehicle and fuel can be claimed for reimbursement. Employees can go to /pages/552.asp and click on “Travel Decision Matrix” to get an estimate of rental reimbursement rates.
 
An intermediate size vehicle is normally the largest rental that will be reimbursed. Naturally, there will be occasions for which a larger vehicle will be required in order to carry out the state’s business.  A waiver request form should be submitted along with the Travel Voucher for reimbursement.
 
Charges for rental cars shall be allowed only when there is a demonstrated cost savings, including compensated employee time, over other modes of transportation such as buses, subways, taxis, etc.  The state will not reimburse for rental cars obtained for personal use, such as sightseeing or optional travel to and from restaurants while on official state business travel.  Only the rental vehicle which is consistent with the size requirements of the business task to be performed will be reimbursed.
 
In-State Vehicle Rentals
 
The In-State Vehicle Rental contract is referenced on the Office of Procurement and Travel (OPT) Travel Information website at http://www.dfa.state.ms.us/Purchasing/StateContracts/VehicleRentalInStateList.htmlThe corporate identification number listed in the contract must be referenced to obtain the state contract price.  The contract also references the coverage of insurance information. The option to purchase insurance should always be declined when utilizing this state contract. Delta State University also has a contract with Enterprise Car Rental for services in Cleveland and the surrounding areas for when the state rental contract cannot be utilized. 
 
Fill the vehicle with gasoline prior to return.  Otherwise, you may be charged up to the amount per gallon as listed in the state contract referenced above for a full tank of gasoline even if the tank is 3/4 full when returned.
 
Out-of-State Vehicle Rentals
 
The Out-of-State Vehicle Rental contract is referenced on the OPT Travel Information website at http://www.dfa.state.ms.us/Purchasing/StateContracts/VehicleRentalOutofStateContract975.pdf.   The corporate identification number listed in the contract must be referenced to obtain the state contract price.  The contract also references the coverage of insurance information.  The option to purchase insurance should always be declined when utilizing this state contract. Delta State University does not have any additional car rental contracts with other rental facilities outside of the state of Mississippi.
 
Fill the vehicle with gasoline prior to return.  Otherwise, you may be charged up to the amount per gallon as listed in the state contract referenced above for a full tank of gasoline even if the tank is 3/4 full when returned.
 
Vehicle Rental Insurance
 
The current vehicle rental contracts include unlimited mileage and free CDW/LDW insurance.  The option to purchase insurance should always be declined when a vehicle is rented utilizing the state contract or the local Enterprise contract.  Insurance purchases will not be reimbursed as per the above information.  The state is self-insured.  Agencies should purchase CDW only when a rental vehicle is rented not utilizing the state contract as the state provides the liability portion of the coverage.  You must always be covered by insurance that is provided by the contract or by purchase, should you utilize a vendor that is not on state contract.
 
Travel by University Pool Vehicle:
 
If the most economical mode of transportation is utilizing pool vehicle, employees of Delta State University may utilize one or more university pool vehicles while traveling on university business.   Pool vehicles should be reserved for travel by groups of four or more employees. Smaller groups should travel in a rental vehicle or in a personal vehicle if a rental vehicle is unavailable. Each department should ensure that employees follow proper procedures for scheduling university pool vehicles and for encumbering travel funds.  Failure to properly schedule vehicles and encumber funds may cause unnecessary delays and budget shortfalls. Pool vehicles are to be used for official university business only. No pool vehicle is to be used for personal reasons.
 
Scheduling and Use of University Pool Vehicles
 
An employee who plans to use a university pool vehicle for travel should contact Facilities Management first to see if the vehicle(s) is/are available.  The employee will provide the date(s) as well as departure and estimated return time that the vehicle(s) will be needed.  Once availability is verified, the employee may schedule the vehicle(s) for the necessary amount of time.
 
The employee will complete a Travel Authorization form with all required signatures and send or bring it to the Office of Procurement and Auxiliary Services (Procurement Office) at least three (3) business days prior to the date of travel.  The Procurement Office will date/time stamp the form and forward it to the Director of Procurement and Auxiliary Services (Director) for review and signature.  The Director will then forward the form to the Accounts Payable Analyst to encumber the funds. 
 
NOTE: If more than one vehicle is needed, one (1) Travel Authorization form can be used to encumber the trip and to pick up the vehicle(s); however the driver(s) of the additional vehicle(s) shall be clearly notated on the Travel Authorization form.
 
The Accounts Payable Analyst will send the original Travel Authorization form back to the employee.  The employee shall call the Procurement Office to verify encumbrance if the Travel Authorization form is not received prior to the trip.  The employee(s) shall take the encumbered Travel Authorization form or a copy of the form to Facilities Management when ready to pick up the vehicle(s).  Only the authorized employee(s) will be allowed to pick up the vehicle(s).
 
NOTE:  If travel will occur after hours or on weekends, the employee(s) shall bring the Travel Authorization form to Facilities Management on the last business day PRIOR to the trip and receive instructions on securing the vehicle(s).  No vehicle(s) will be released from the university pool without a properly signed and encumbered travel authorization.  It is the responsibility of the traveler(s) to ensure that all steps are completed prior to receiving the vehicle(s).
 
The employee(s) will immediately return the vehicle(s) to Facilities Management once the trip is completed.  It is vital that the vehicle(s) be returned on the scheduled return date to avoid scheduling conflicts.  The vehicle(s) should be parked in the motor pool parking area during business hours or in the east parking lot after hours.  The vehicle(s) shall be clean of debris and locked after parking.
 
Please do not lock keys inside the vehicle(s). Keys to the vehicle(s) will be dropped into the key drop box located at the east door of the Facilities Management building if the vehicle is returned after business hours. The employee(s) shall complete page 2 of the Travel Authorization form and submit the form to Accounts Payable with appropriate receipts attached within the first week after the travel is completed to ensure that funds are charged back to the department for the travel.
 
Travel by Public Airline:
 
If the most economical mode of transportation is by public airline, airline travel plans will be made through the contracted travel agency identified by the Purchasing Department unless it can be shown that less expensive or more advantageous flights can be booked through the Internet or other travel agency. Travel reimbursements by airline will be made in accordance with the following guidelines.
 
In calculating the most economical mode of transportation between airfare and travel by other means the employee shall factor in additional lodging, meal expenses, taxi fares, parking, and other airport related expenses. Delays in route that will not delay the traveler’s arrival at the destination by more than 3 hours actual travel time within the same day travel was begun and that result in a substantial cost benefit to the state will be used.
 
Business or first-class service may be authorized if at least one of the flight segments exceeds 6 hours. A flight segment is defined as time in the air between stopovers, changing aircraft, or change of airline. Business or first-class travel is not reimbursable unless approved in advance. A waiver signed by the agency head (or his designee) must be submitted and approved by OPT prior to the trip.
 
Using the Contracted Agency
 
  • Make reservations with the contracting agency. These reservations will be held for 24 hours.
     
  • Complete a “Travel Authorization Form” with appropriate signatures and carry to Purchasing Department. The Purchasing Department will issue a General Encumbrance number to the authorization.
     
  • Call the contracted travel agency with the General Encumbrance number that will then be billed to the University Business Travel Account (BTA) through American Express
  • The traveler will attach the itinerary from the contracting agency to the Travel Authorization upon request for reimbursement.
 
Other Booking
 
For all flights which are not booked through the contracted travel agency, the employee must submit a cost comparison showing a minimum of two (2) fares. The cost comparison must show the fare and any issuance cost and must show a savings, and shall be submitted along with the employees Travel Voucher.
 
If the traveler books a ticket through the Internet or another travel agency, the traveler will be responsible for all costs until a request for reimbursement is submitted or travel advance is requested. The traveler must attach an itinerary/receipt to the Travel Authorization. The amount paid for the ticket cannot exceed the specified state contract amount unless prior approval from the Office of Purchasing and Travel is obtained.
 
Airline Reservation Changes
 
Involuntary
 
A note of explanation should be attached to the Travel Voucher and does not require a waiver if an involuntary airline reservation change results in additional reimbursable expense.
 
Voluntary
 
Voluntary in-route changes in travel arrangements should be handled through the original source of the reservations. Most of the travel agencies provide toll-free numbers. Check the Travel Agency Services contract at http://www.dfa.state.ms.us/Purchasing/StateContracts/TravelContract962.pdf. If the change is for personal reasons, the state will not reimburse any fees imposed by the airline or the travel agency. Emergency situations will require a Waiver Request Form to be submitted to OPT for approval and the waiver must be attached to the Travel Voucher.
 
If the traveler is outside the continental U. S. and changes are required, make the change as needed and attach a note of explanation to the Travel Voucher. Necessary waivers should be submitted upon return from the trip to the Office of Purchasing and Travel.
 
Flight Insurance
 
When a ticket is purchased with the state agency’s American Express Business Travel Account (BTA) account or with an American Express Corporate Card, automatic Travel Accident insurance is included for any scheduled airline transportation. Note: When the BTA is used, $350,000.00 in travel accident insurance is included for any scheduled airline transportation. Some of the state contract travel agencies

http://www.dfa.state.ms.us/Purchasing/Travel/Travel.html also provide free insurance with tickets. No other flight insurance will be reimbursed.

 
Airlines automatically insure each ticketed passenger’s luggage. Any excess valuation must be declared and paid at check-in. Check with the airline or the travel agency for procedures and amounts. Excess valuation for business related items may be a reimbursable expense by your agency. Personal items such as clothing and incidentals are not a reimbursable expense.
 
If tickets are purchased with the American Express Business Travel Account (BTA) or corporate card, both carry-on and checked baggage are insured.
 
Business Travel and Vacation/Personal Leave:
 
Business travel and vacation/personal leave may be combined when both of the following conditions are met:
 
  1. The primary purpose of the trip is official state business;
  2. The employee uses his/her approved leave for the personal part of the trip;
 
The state agency incurs no expenses beyond what it would have incurred had there been no personal travel involved in the trip. (If the employee would normally be expected to arrive the day before, or remain in the area of official business overnight and return the following morning, and does so, expenses for either/both night(s) and the appropriate meals will be allowed.); and,
 
The contract travel agency should be advised that the business part of the ticket will be billed to the state and the personal travel part to the employee’s personal credit card at the time the transportation reservations are made.

 
 
 
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