Financial Services Manual (FIN)

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Effective: 6/21/1983

Revised: 7/1/2014

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FIN 512: Transportation

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To provide explanation of the allowable modes of transportation and what related expenses are acceptable, and to document the exceptions/restrictions on modes of transportation

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Financial Services

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Persons traveling on official business for ASU must choose the mode of transportation that is most suitable and economical for the trip. It is the responsibility of the authorizing travel official (ATO) to determine which method of transportation is in the best interest of the university.

Transportation expenses include fares for common carriers, privately owned car/vehicle or aircraft mileage, toll road charges, taxis, buses, or other incidental transportation charges.

When two or more employees traveling on official university business are transported in the same private conveyance, only one claim for mileage reimbursement will be allowed. Mileage will be reimbursed at the cost of total airfare for all employees or actual mileage, whichever is less.

Reimbursement for any type of transportation, including private airplane, can be no higher than the air coach fare to the point of destination or mileage by the most direct route, based upon the least cost to the university.

Air Travel

When flying, the traveler should select the lowest airfare using the most direct route that meets the traveler’s scheduling needs. Fare selection should be based on price and schedule and not the traveler’s frequent flyer affiliation. ASU does not reimburse travelers for the use of personal frequent-flyer miles for ASU business travel.

The preferred method of purchasing airline tickets is to use the purchasing card (P-Card) or a purchase order (PO) through ASU’s contracted travel agency. A traveler can always choose to make flight reservations and purchase tickets from a non-contracted agency with personal funds and then claim reimbursement on the Travel Authorization/Claim form (available on the Financial Services, Forms Web page).

Charges for checked baggage, early boarding, and choice seats on coach are reimbursed with itemized receipts. Excess baggage fees are allowable if additional bags are required for the specific trip (e.g., long duration of trip across multiple destinations or climates or the need to transport specialized equipment for fieldwork) and reasonable explanation is provided with the Travel Authorization/Claim.

Exceptions and Restrictions

Higher-Cost Airfare: If a higher cost airfare is purchased, the traveler must document the reason, such as avoidance of:

  • circuitous routing
  • travel during unreasonable hours
  • excessively prolonged travel time
  • incurring additional expenses (such as extra lodging and per diem costs) that would offset cost savings from economy airfare


  • inadequate accommodations for the traveler’s medical needs.

First-Class or Business-Class Airfare: On an exception basis, first-class or business-class airfare will be reimbursed only with VP/provost approval. Exceptions to allow first-class airfare typically do not occur.

International Air Travel Charged to Sponsored Projects: Restrictions apply to which air carriers can be used when the travel is paid by a federal granting agency. For information on the U.S. Flag Air Carriers requirement for international air travel charged to sponsored projects, see RSP 504–01, “Sponsored Projects Travel for ASU Employees.”

Charter Flight Services: Charter flight services must be authorized and licensed by the Arizona Department of Transportation. All arrangements for the rental or lease of charter aircraft must be pre-approved by ASU Insurance Services (see the ASU Risk Management & Insurance Services Web page).

Privately Owned Aircraft: For the use of privately owned aircraft, prior to departure, contact the Travel Reimbursements office for required documentation, authorization, and procedures. All arrangements for the use of privately owned aircraft must be pre-approved by ASU Insurance Services (see the ASU Risk Management & Insurance Services Web page). Any reimbursement can be no higher than the coach airfare to the point of destination.

Non-Air Transportation

While traveling it may be necessary to use various types of ground transportation including trains, buses, subways, personal cars/vehicles, rental cars/vehicles, taxis, shuttles, or car services. The traveler should use judgment in choosing the travel mode that best fits their needs, both economically and with respect to travel time.

Note: Minivans, SUVs, and buses are allowable options for road travel; however, the use of 12- and 15-passenger vans is prohibited.

Rental Cars/Vehicles

A rental car/vehicle may be used in travel status when other means of transportation are not available or are not an economical choice. The use of a rented vehicle must be pre-approved by the ATO during the travel authorization process. Furthermore, before renting the vehicle, the renter must have attended defensive driver training in accordance with EHS 119, “Motor Fleet Safety.” ASU will not reimburse for domestic insurance coverage since the authorized use of a rental vehicle for ASU business purposes will be covered under ASU’s self-insurance policy. The employee should add “On behalf of Arizona State University” behind their name on the rental agreement and credit card statement.

If the traveler is authorized to rent a car/vehicle while on foreign travel, the cost of insurance will be reimbursed.

Privately Owned Cars/Vehicles

An ATO may authorize travel by a privately owned car/vehicle if it is in the university’s best interest due to cost, efficiency, or work requirements. The traveler must have a valid driver’s license and current insurance on the vehicle in order to use the vehicle for university travel. The traveler’s privately owned vehicle liability coverage is the primary coverage should an accident occur while operating the vehicle while on university business. Regardless of fault, any comprehensive or collision damage will not be reimbursed. For more information on the use of private vehicles on university business, refer to EHS 119, “Motor Fleet Safety.” Reimbursement is typically made at the Arizona Department of Revenue rate (to access the “State of Arizona Transportation, Lodging and Meal Reimbursement Rates,” see Financial Services, Per Diem Rates Web page).

Employees are paid for actual miles traveled from their home or campus duty post, whichever is less, to their travel designation. Only the miles driven in excess of the normal commute are reimbursable. Mileage claims need to specify the complete location name, street address, city, state, and time and place of departure and arrival unless the location is well known. Nearest major crossroads are acceptable. The following can be used for mileage reporting:

In addition to mileage reimbursement, the traveler will be reimbursed for parking expenses, but the university will not reimburse the traveler for vehicle repairs, parking fines, or moving violations.

Airport parking and mileage expense for privately owned cars/vehicles is permitted if the cost is less than taxi fare to and from the airport from home or work place, whichever is applicable, and reimbursable without a receipt if $50 or less.

Shuttles, Taxis, Public Transportation, or Car Services

Shuttles, taxis, public transportation, or car services that provide transportation between home or work place, airport terminals, lodging, and the meeting site (travel destination) are reimbursable without receipts if the total expense per ride is $50 or less.

Bus and Light Rail Passes

Departments may purchase bus and light rail passes for official university use. Departments may not allow employees or students to use the passes to commute between home and campus, or to any other location, when not on official university business. For more information on ASU’s public transit options, see PTS 601, “Transit Services.”

Other Ground Transportation

Travel on trains, ships, buses, etc. may be used if justification is provided, indicating why this travel is the most suitable method of transportation. For trains (such as Amtrak or Eurail), fares may be paid with the P-Card because travel is similar to airfare as seat reservations are often required. As with airfare, the class of train fare purchased should be the most economical and reasonable for the nature of the trip.


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For information on how to obtain an ASU-sponsored Diners Club university travel card, see FIN 515, “University-Sponsored Travel Credit Card.”

For information on the requirements for using rental cars/vehicles and/or privately owned cars/vehicles, see the Environmental Health & Safety Policies and Procedures ManualEHS 119, “Motor Fleet Safety.”

For more information on ASU’s public transit options, see the Parking and Transit Services Policies and Procedures ManualRSP 601, “Transit Services.”

For information on the U.S. Flag Air Carriers requirement for international air travel charged to sponsored projects, see the Research and Sponsored Projects Policies and Procedures ManualRSP 504–01, “Sponsored Projects Travel for ASU Employees.”

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