Feds using Uber get clarification on ride reimbursement policy
The General Services Administration updated its guidance to clarify how agencies should reimburse federal employees who use ridesharing apps for official travel purposes.
GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy explains in a new Federal Travel Regulation bulletin that federal employees may be reimbursed when on official temporary duty travel using apps like Uber and Lyft, or what the agency calls transportation network companies, which “connect passengers with drivers for hire via websites and mobile apps,” according to a GSA blog post.
“Currently, the regulations allow for federal travelers to use TNCs,” the post says. “The simple answer is that: yes, as a federal employee traveling on official business, you can be reimbursed for rideshares in accordance with your agency procedures and local laws.”
The update comes after Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Seth Moulton, D-Mass., introduced the Government Travel Modernization Act earlier this month to the House. The legislation calls for the GSA to “prescribe regulations … to provide for the reimbursement for the use of a transportation network company or innovative mobility technology by any Federal employee traveling on official business” within 90 days of the bill’s enactment.
Before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform took action on the legislation, GSA took it upon itself to inform agencies and employees of the allowance.
The guidance doesn’t necessarily change or update any prior regulations but rather explains the current rules — which allow for official transport by “any other special conveyance when determined to be advantageous to the government” — in the context of the burgeoning app economy and ridesharing.
“[Transportation network companies] connect paying passengers with drivers for hire via websites and mobile apps,” the GSA bulletin says. “TNCs are a form of special conveyance and, when permissible under local laws and ordinances, may be an efficient and cost effective alternative to taxis or rental cars. Federal agencies may authorize and reimburse Federal travelers on TDY for use of TNCs in accordance with internal agency policy.”