Skip to Content
California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach

IV. Transportation Expenses

Transportation expenses shall be reimbursed based on the most economical mode of transportation and the most commonly traveled route consistent with the authorized purpose of the trip.

Travel by a group of employees in the same aircraft, automobile, or other mode of transportation is discouraged when the employees' responsibilities are such that an accident could seriously affect the functioning of the University. Key employees, such as the President, Vice Presidents, or a substantial number of employees from the same organizational unit or program, should consider this risk when making travel arrangements. Please refer to Section VIII. Travel Related Insurancefor insurance coverage requirements and emergency notification instructions. Additional requirements for international travel are provided in Section XIII. International Travel.

  1. General Information

    1. Definition
    2. Transportation expenses include charges for commercial carrier fares; travel agency service fees; car and aircraft rental charges; private car mileage allowances; emergency repair to University cars; overnight and day auto parking; bridge and road tolls; taxi and public transportation fares; and all other charges for transportation services necessary to accomplish the official business purpose of the trip.

    3. Transportation Tickets
    4. Transportation tickets should be procured in advance in order to obtain any discounts offered by the carrier or negotiated by the University. Such tickets should be purchased from the campus contract travel agency. Travelers will not be reimbursed for non-cash certificates used for the purchase of transportation tickets, e.g., frequent flyer miles.

    5. Lost Tickets
    6. Service charges for tickets lost by travelers may be reimbursed, provided such occurrences are infrequent. Charges for re-ticketing, schedule changes, etc., are reimbursable if incurred for a valid business reason. The reason for the charge must be specified on the Travel Expense Claim.

    7. Indirect or Interrupted Itineraries
    8. Advance approval is required when a traveler takes an indirect route or interrupts travel by a direct route, for purposes other than University business. Any resulting additional expenses shall be borne by the traveler. The reimbursement of expenses shall be limited to the actual costs incurred or the charges that would have been incurred via a usually traveled route, whichever is less.

      Any resulting excess travel time will not be considered work time, and will be charged to the appropriate type of leave. The employee shall be responsible for accurate reporting of such leave time.

    9. Surface Transportation Used in Lieu of Air Travel
    10. If advance approval has been obtained, a traveler may use surface transportation for personal reasons even though air travel is the appropriate mode of transportation. The cost of meals and lodging, parking, mileage, tolls, taxis, and ferries incurred while in transit by surface transportation may be reimbursed.

      Such costs, however, shall not exceed the cost of airfare, based on the lower of the regular coach fare available for the location of travel from a standard commercial air carrier or the campus travel program fare, plus transportation costs to and from the terminals. Documentation demonstrating the cost of regular coach in effect at the time of travel should be included with the travel claim form.

    11. Travel Extended to Save Costs
    12. Additional expenses associated with travel extended to save costs, e.g., a Saturday night stay for domestic travel, may be reimbursed when the cost of airfare would be less than the cost of airfare had the traveler not extended the trip (provided the expenses were incurred in compliance with these procedures).

      Such expenses, which include lodging, car rental, meals and incidental expenses (subject to the reimbursement caps set forth in Appendix C) incurred within the vicinity of the business destination, shall not exceed the amount the University would have paid had the traveler not extended the trip.

  2. Air Travel

    1. Commercial Airlines
      1. Coach or Economy Class

        Coach or any other discounted economy-class fare shall be used whenever ticketing restrictions are reasonable. This applies to all travel (domestic or international, or any combination thereof) regardless of the purpose or fund source.

      2. Business or First Class

        When a traveler prefers to use a higher class than the one authorized for reimbursement, the traveler must pay the incremental cost of the airfare. A documented cost comparison must be attached to the Travel Expense Claim.

        Use of business or first-class or other higher-cost services may be authorized under the circumstances listed below.  Documentation of such circumstances must be provided on the Travel Expense Claim.

        • Business or first-class is the only service offered between two points;
        • The use of coach class would be more expensive or time consuming, e.g., when, because of scheduling difficulties, traveling by air coach would require an unnecessary hotel expense, circuitous routing, or an unduly long layover when making connections;
        • An itinerary involves overnight travel without an opportunity for normal rest before the commencement of working hours; or
        • When necessary to reasonably accommodate a disability or medical need of a traveler.
      3. Baggage Fees

        If not included in the airfare, the University will pay the cost for one (1) checked bag when it is considered reasonable and necessary for the business purpose and length of the trip. The Appropriate Administrator is responsible for determining if the fees are appropriate.

      4. Airline Memberships

        The occasional use of a one-day airline or airport membership may be approved, provided there is significant purpose of the use of the membership such as a planned meeting or conference call.

      5. U.S. Flag Air Carriers

        Under the Fly America Act, only U.S. carriers shall be used for travel reimbursed from federal grants and contracts, unless one of the following exceptions applies:

        • Use of U.S. carrier service would extend travel time, including delay at origin, by 24 hours or more;
        • U.S. carriers do not offer nonstop or direct service between origin and destination. However, a U.S. carrier must be used on every portion of the route where it provides service unless, when compared to using an international air carrier, such use would:
          • Increase the number of aircraft changes outside the United States by two or more; or
          • Extend travel time by at least 6 hours or more; or
          • Require a connecting time of 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point.
        • When the costs of transportation are reimbursed in full by a third party, such as an international government or an international agency

        Code-sharing agreements with international air carriers, whereby American carriers purchase or have the right to sell a block of tickets on an international carrier, comply with the Fly America Act Regulations. The ticket, or documentation for an electronic ticket, must identify the U.S. carrier's designator code and flight number.

        Reimbursement of travel on an international air carrier may be denied in the absence of such justification.

  3. Automobile

    Vehicles shall be used in accordance with established campus procedures. See the CSULB guidelines for the use of University and Private Vehicles for requirements.

    Persons traveling by automobile for University business must possess a valid driver’s license or pending application for a California driver’s license. Visitors to or new residents of California should refer to the Drivers License Information located at: http://dmv.ca.gov/protal/dmv/dmv/dl. All persons operating a vehicle for official business are required to comply with California State Laws.

    When using a private vehicle for University business, CSU employees must have a current State of California form STD 261: Authorization to Use Privately Owned Vehicles on State Business on file in their department. See section VIII C Travel Related Insurance, Private Vehicles for insurance requirements

    1. Campus Driver

      A campus driver includes employees that are required to drive for University business while utilizing campus and/or privately owned vehicles.

      Before driving on University business, all travelers must first be able to provide proof of adequate insurance, a current driver’s license, complete defensive driving course.

      The campus policy for driving while on University Business can be found on the CSULB Risk Management web page – Privately owned Use of Privately Owned Vehicles on University Business.

    2. Rental Cars
      1. Authorization to Rent

        A vehicle may be rented when renting would be more advantageous to the University than other means of commercial transportation, such as using a taxi. Advance reservations should be made whenever possible and a compact, economy or intermediate class vehicle requested. These classes should be used unless a no-cost upgrade is provided or if the recommended sizes are not adequate to meet the business purposes of the trip.

        Rental of 15 passenger or 14 passenger vans with one seat removed are prohibited.

        When renting a vehicle for University business, the rental car agency's University contract number should always be given to the agency at the time of rental in order to secure the contract rate and ensure that the vehicle is covered by liability and physical damage insurance.

        The traveler is responsible for obtaining the best available rate commensurate with the requirements of the trip. The discount negotiated with car rental agencies by the State or University should always be used when available. When State or University discount negotiated car rental agencies are not available, travelers must comply with the same rental obligations. If there is no-contracted rental agency available, and a non-contracted agency must be used, the Traveler must purchase liability and physical damage insurance through the car rental agency.

      2. Fuel Requirements

        Traveler’s should make the most economical and practical decision regarding fuel option purchases.

      3. Additional Options

        Charges for additional Options including but not limited to. Items such as ski racks, GPS devices, car seats and satellite radio will not be reimbursed unless the traveler provides a business related requirement for the equipment.

      4. Payment Options

        Rental Cars may be booked directly with the individual rental car company or through a the campus travel agency, Giselle's.

        The recognized forms of payment for Commercial Rental Car contracts with Enterprise and Vanguard (National/Alamo) are:

        • University direct billing, available through Giselle's; and
        • The CSU Long Beach “One Card” for the frequent traveler
        • Personal credit cards

        Cash and personal checks are not authorized forms of payment for the State of California commercial rental car contracts.

    3. Private Vehicles

      Persons authorized to travel by automobile (e.g., when an automobile is the most economical mode of transportation) are responsible for carrying and maintaining liability insurance if using a private vehicle. Refer to Section VIII. B., Private Vehicles for insurance requirements and allowable reimbursements in case of an accident.

      Individuals requesting mileage reimbursement are certifying the number of miles driven is accurate. When two or more persons on University business share a private vehicle, only the driver may claim reimbursement for mileage.

      The following applies to all domestic travel:

      1. Allowable Mileage Expense – With Overnight Stay
      2. Mileage shall ordinarily be computed between the traveler's normal work location and the common carrier or destination.

        Mileage expenses may be allowed between the traveler's residence and the common carrier or destination if University business travel occurs during the traveler's non-working hours, or during a regularly scheduled day off.

        When a traveler is authorized to drive a private vehicle to or from a common carrier terminal, mileage may be reimbursed as follows:

        • One round trip, including parking for the duration of the trip; or
        • Two round trips, including short-term parking expenses, when an employee is driven to a common carrier.
      3. Allowable Mileage Expense – No Overnight Stay
        If an employee has a temporary assignment away from campus, (e.g., single day workshop, local conference, training, etc.) which does not require an overnight stay, reimbursement shall be made for mileage expense as follows:
        • Mileage between Home and a Single Assignment Location:
          • Reimbursement shall be made for round-trip mileage between the campus and the assignment location, or home and the assignment location, whichever is less.
        • Mileage between Home and Multiple Assignment Locations
          • Reimbursement shall be made for round trip mileage between the normal work
            location, (not home) and the first assignment location visited and round trip mileage between successive assignment locations.
        • Mileage between Normal Work Location and an Assignment location
          • Reimbursement shall be made for the round trip mileage between the normal work location and the assignment location.
        • Mileage between Home, Normal Work Location and then on to a Single Assignment Location (or any combination thereof):
          • Reimbursement shall be made for round-trip mileage between the normal work location and the assignment location.
        • Mileage between Home, Normal Work Location and then on the Multiple Assignment Locations (or any combination thereof):
          • Reimbursement shall be made for round trip mileage between the normal work location and the first assignment location and round trip mileage between successive assignment locations visited.

        Expenses for travel between the traveler's residence and normal work location (commuting expense) shall not be allowed.

      4. Standard Rate
        The standard reimbursement rate per mile is set forth in Appendix B and follows the published rates by the Internal Revenue Service. This rate takes into account all actual automobile expenses such as fuel and lubrication, towing charges, maintenance and repairs, tires, depreciation, vehicle registration, and insurance.

        According to IRS regulations, travelers who claim this rate are not required to substantiate the actual costs of operating the vehicle.

      5. Rate for Travelers with Physical Disabilities
        A traveler with a physical disability who must use a specially equipped or modified automobile may claim reimbursement at the standard rate per mile set forth in Appendix B. However, if the traveler incurred higher than standard operating costs, the traveler may seek reimbursement by submitting a statement with the Travel Expense Claim certifying that he or she incurred higher operating costs associated with a specially equipped vehicle. The actual fixed and variable costs must be specified in the statement.

        The traveler should refer to IRS Form 2106, Employee Business Expenses, to obtain additional information on the calculation of actual vehicle operating costs. The form is available from the following IRS web site: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f2106.pdf

        The departmental authority that approves the travel is responsible for documenting the traveler's need to use such a vehicle.

    4. Miscellaneous Automobile-related Expenses

      Charges for ferries, bridges, tunnels, or toll roads may be claimed by the vehicle operator. Reasonable charges for parking while an employee is on travel status or on University business away from regular duties also will be allowed for the following:

      • Day parking on trips away from an employee's normal work location;
      • Day and all night parking on overnight trips away from an employee's normal work location or residence (a claim should not be made if free overnight parking is available); and
      • Parking charges incurred when an employee, without a location parking permit, is occasionally required to drive to and from normal work location.

      Valet parking charges in excess of normal parking charges shall be borne by the traveler, unless the traveler obtains an exception.

    5. Campus Vehicles
    6. University vehicles shall be used in accordance with established campus guidelines. Faculty and staff may operate University owned vehicles once they have been cleared by University Police and completed the required University defensive driving course. Students that are not acting in the course and scope of employment may not operate or drive University owned vehicles at any time for travel purposes.

  4. Rail, Bus, or Passenger ship

  5. Rail, bus transportation, or passenger ship may be used if required by a business necessity, but may not exceed the cost of airfare.

  6. Other Forms of Transportation

    1. Local Public Transportation, Shuttle Service, and Taxis

      Local public transportation fares (e.g., buses, subway, streetcars, taxis, ferries) shall be allowed. The traveler is expected to utilize the most economical and practical method of transportation for their business purpose. Taxi fare, including tips, shall be allowed when the use of public transportation or airport shuttle service is impractical or not available. The cost must be reasonable in relation to personal car use costs, including parking, tolls, etc.

    2. Motorcycles

      Motorcycles, except those of University Police department employees on motorcycle assignment, shall not be authorized for use on official University business, nor shall any reimbursement be made for the use of such vehicles.

    3. Special Conveyances

      Charges for using other types of conveyance (such as a helicopter or boat) shall be allowed when the use is beneficial to the University and when the fare for the conveyance is not included in the original cost of the common carrier fare. An explanation justifying such use must accompany the Travel Expense Claim. Private aircraft, watercraft, and charters are considered high level exceptions and must be approved in advance per the delegation of signature authority.