Financial Services Manual (FIN)

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Effective: 6/21/1983

Revised: 3/1/2011

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FIN 512: Transportation

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To provide a detailed explanation of the different modes of transportation and to provide the mileage reimbursement rates for the modes of transportation

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Financial Services

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Transportation expenses include fares for common carriers, privately owned vehicle or aircraft mileage, toll road charges, taxis, buses, or other incidental transportation charges. Persons traveling on official business for ASU must choose the mode of transportation that is most suitable and economical for the trip. The use of 12- and 15-passenger vans is prohibited. Minivans, SUVs, and buses are still options for road travel. It is the responsibility of the authorizing travel official (ATO) to determine which method of transportation is in the best interest of the university.

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.


The mileage reimbursement rate is posted on the Financial Services Travel Page. Mileage reimbursement is in lieu of reimbursement for original gas receipts. Mileage reimbursement is computed by using:

  1. odometer readings based on miles traveled by the most direct and regularly traveled route
  2. mileage based upon the pre-established mileage presented in Map Mileage One-Way from ASU Main to Various Locations on the Financial Services Travel Page on the Web, for travel between the Tempe campus and various other commonly traveled locations


  3. mileage based on a map mileage between cities and towns and a conservative estimate of miles traveled for in-town driving if odometer readings are not obtained and the routing is not listed in Map Mileage One-Way from ASU Main to Various Locations on the Financial Services Travel Page.

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. Identification of nearest major crossroads instead of a street address is acceptable. The mileage claimed may not exceed the mileage that would have been computed if odometer readings had been obtained. Such estimated mileage claimed is subject to adjustment at the discretion of Travel Reimbursements.

The permanent office location of an employee determines the home campus; other locations are considered off campus to that employee. Mileage reimbursement is paid to regular faculty for instruction at off-campus sites and for other necessary supervisor-approved travel. Mileage is not paid for travel from one university building to another on the same campus.

An employee can be paid mileage reimbursement for authorized travel away from his or her designated duty post for actual miles traveled from the employee’s home or campus, whichever is less. For part-time employees who have no designated duty post, e.g., survey takers, an alternate procedure for computing mileage reimbursement is available from Travel Reimbursements.

Commute Mileage

When, on a normal work day, travel begins or ends at the individual’s residence, reimbursement mileage is computed as the mileage for the most direct route to the destination less the commute mileage. Only the miles driven in excess of the normal commute are reimbursable. For example, an employee’s normal commute mileage is 15 miles one way. If that employee drives 10 miles from home to attend an off-campus meeting, then 10 miles from the meeting to ASU, the employee may be reimbursed for the five miles in excess of the normal commute.

If an employee is required to make an extra commute to his or her designated duty post, mileage will be paid between the employee’s home and designated duty post. The commute must be required, and it must be in addition to the employee’s normal work day commutes. If an employee works late on a normal work day, but is not required to make an extra commute, mileage to the employee’s residence will not be reimbursed.

Privately Owned Vehicles

An ATO may authorize travel by a privately owned vehicle when it is in the university’s best interest due to cost, efficiency, work requirements or when travel by common carrier or state vehicle is not feasible. Mileage is reimbursed at the lesser of the current mileage rates set by the Department of Revenue; or, mileage is reimbursed at a rate determined by comparing air coach fare to the same destination against the current mileage rate. (Refer to the Financial Services Travel Page for the current mileage reimbursement rate.) Original receipts for gas or vehicle repair do not qualify as additional reimbursement expenses.

If a privately owned vehicle is used for out-of-state travel for the convenience of the traveler, lodging and per diem allowances will be calculated as though the employee had traveled by air, e.g., for a trip to Los Angeles, per diem time of approximately one hour each way would be allowed. For reimbursement purposes, a trip to Washington, D.C., by car will be reimbursed as a four-to-six-hour air trip.


Before using a privately owned vehicle for approved travel, a traveler must have current vehicle insurance and a valid driver’s license. The traveler’s signature on the claim certifies that he or she has a valid driver’s license and that the privately owned vehicle, if used, is covered by liability insurance. A traveler who does not have current insurance and/or a valid driver’s license cannot be approved for travel by a privately owned vehicle.

A traveler’s own liability insurance must respond to the limit of the policy if the traveler, on approved travel, is at fault in an accident involving a privately owned vehicle. If the amount of damage exceeds coverage, the state’s self-insurance liability coverage will cover the amount over the policy limits. Regardless of fault, the state will not reimburse the traveler for any comprehensive or collision damage to a privately owned vehicle.

State insurance does not cover an employee while driving a state-owned or non-state-owned vehicle outside the course and scope of employment.

Rental Vehicles

Rental vehicles may be used on a trip when other means of transportation are not available or cannot be used economically. Rental vehicles used for travel purposes must be specifically authorized on a Travel Authorization/Claim form before the trip begins. The traveler renting the vehicle must attend defensive driver training before renting the vehicle. The defensive driver training is valid for four years. See EHS 119, “Motor Fleet Safety,” for additional information.

To receive reimbursement for a rental vehicle used on a trip, but not originally authorized, the traveler must obtain the signature of the ATO, and complete the “EXPLANATION” section of the Travel Authorization/Claim form, before submitting the claim form to Travel Reimbursements.

Renting vehicles while in travel status should be held to a minimum. When a rental vehicle is required, the traveler must refuse the collision and liability insurance (except in foreign travel status) since the university is self-insured through the State of Arizona Department of Administration, Risk Management Section. The traveler should indicate the rental is for university business by adding “On behalf of Arizona State University” behind the traveler’s name on the credit card agreement.

Air Travel

For tickets, the traveler may have the airfare (1) charged to his or her departmental ASU Purchasing Card, (2) purchased through the university’s contracted travel agency (see the Financial Services Travel Page for contracted travel agency information), (3) charged to his or her university-sponsored travel card and then request reimbursement on the Travel Authorization/Claim form, or (4) charged to his or her own credit card and then request reimbursement on the Travel Authorization/Claim form. Airfare purchased with the ASU Purchasing Card or through the university’s contracted travel agency allows for the airfare to be billed directly to the university.

If the traveler’s department uses its ASU Purchasing Card, the department should maintain a copy of the approved Travel Authorization form and the airfare receipt with the department’s Purchasing Card Memo statements.

In order to purchase a ticket from the university’s contracted travel agency, the traveler’s department must process an internal purchase order (PO), using the appropriate travel object code. Before the airline ticket can be issued, the contracted travel agency must be furnished with a PO and TA number. If the trip is canceled, it is the department’s responsibility to make sure that the prepaid ticket is canceled and the money refunded. Because of legal ramifications, employees are not authorized to use airline tickets written in someone else’s name.

For group airline tickets exceeding $25,000, Purchasing and Business Services is required to bid. In this situation, a purchase order is issued for the tickets and paid by ASU check.

Flight insurance purchased by the traveler for any travel (individual or group) is not reimbursable.

In the best interest of the university, the traveler should always select the lowest airfare while not sacrificing his or her needs. Tickets should be purchased in advance to take advantage of fare discounts. Rather than traveling during the workweek, travel cost savings can sometimes be obtained if the ASU traveler begins travel during the prior weekend. Often, reduced airfares, in conjunction with additional hotel charges and per diem amounts incurred in the city where the conference or meeting is being held, are less than the costs that the employee would incur if the travel occurred during the week. When completing the Travel Authorization/Claim form, the traveler needs to indicate what the airfare, hotel, and per diem charges are for weekend travel compared to the charges incurred if the travel occurs during the week. All of these factors are considered in determining the most economical travel arrangements.

First-class airfare can be reimbursed only if:

  1. it is the only type of fare offered
  2. more economical seats are not available, and the trip does not permit taking another flight


  3. special employee health restrictions exist.

If lower fare seats are not available, the traveler must obtain a statement from the carrier representative that lower-class seating is not available, justifying a first-class airfare. Exceptions requiring first-class airfare must also be explained and approved by the ATO on the Travel Authorization/Claim form before submitting it to Travel Reimbursements.

Reimbursement for travel is limited to the expenses of travel by the most direct and usually traveled route at a minimum of expense. Travelers traveling by an indirect route or with a more expensive ticket for their own pleasure and convenience, or to take advantage of airline incentives, will not be reimbursed for subsistence and travel expenses in excess of those which would have been required for travel by the most direct route or least expensive ticket. The university may also require a traveler to charge such excess travel time to vacation time.

Ticketless Airfare

ASU travelers may sometimes travel by air without a ticket. Rather than receiving a ticket after a reservation has been made, the traveler receives a confirmation number and recites the number at the time of check-in.

In order to comply with state travel regulations, documentation of ticketless airfare is required for reimbursement. Payment documentation may be in the form of an airline- or travel agency-issued itinerary indicating the amount paid and the method of payment, or a receipt issued by the airline. Airlines will send receipts upon request to business travelers filing travel claims. Travelers who have received airfare advances for ticketless flights must supply the payment documentation when submitting a travel claim upon trip completion in order to account for the travel advance. The advance will continue to be the responsibility of the traveler until payment documentation is submitted or a refund is made to ASU for the advance.

Written confirmation of a ticketless airfare reservation is available from the airline at no charge to the traveler, and it may assist the traveler in avoiding reservation errors or disputes. The traveler also may make reservations on a ticketless flight with the on-campus contracted travel agency and have ASU billed directly for the flight.

Frequent Flier Miles

ASU travelers will not be reimbursed for the use of personal frequent flier miles used for ASU business-related travel.

Common Carriers

Common carriers such as trains, ships, and buses may be used if justification is provided, indicating they are the most suitable and economical method of transportation.

Charter Aircraft

Departments requiring charter flight service are authorized to contract only with those commercial flight operators who have been licensed and authorized by the Arizona Department of Transportation. All purchase requests (RXs) for the rental or lease of aircraft and all travel orders requesting plane mileage or plane rental reimbursement must be approved in advance of the travel by the university’s Risk Management/Safety Services liaison before they will be processed. The Risk Management/Safety Services liaison will verify that the rented or leased aircraft has adequate insurance coverage and that all private pilots have a current Pilot History Data Form on file with Risk Management and Safety Services.

Private Aircraft

Only those individuals approved and authorized, prior to travel, by ASU Insurance Services may claim privately owned or rented aircraft reimbursement. Contact Insurance Services for specifics.

Reimbursement for the use of a privately owned aircraft by a traveler is at the rate set by the Department of Revenue on the basis of the shortest air route from origin to destination, using airways whenever possible. The reimbursement rate for privately owned aircraft is available on the Financial Services Travel Page.

Reimbursement is also made for actual and necessary expenses for landing and parking fees, except reimbursement is not allowed for storage or parking fees at the location where the aircraft is normally stored.

Limousine, Shuttle, and Taxi Service

Local transportation expenses between terminals, lodging, and the work site are reimbursable and can be claimed without receipts if expenses are $50 or less. Airport storage or parking for privately owned motor vehicles is allowed only if the cost is less than taxi fare to and from the airport.

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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.”

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