California Department of Transportation
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Clark Paulsen, Division Chief


References: SAM 0700, 0710, 0730, 0751, and 4117, California Code of Regulations (CCR), Administration, Title 2, Sections 599.615, 599.615.1, 599.626, 599.626.1, and 599.627, and Department of Human Resources (CalHR) PML 2005-021 and 2005-046.


General Policy

Employees should use the most economical mode of transportation, considering both direct expense as well as employee time. Reimbursement will be made only for the method of transportation that is in the best interest of the State.

Allowable modes of transportation include:

  • Buses, shuttle buses, taxis, Uber, and Lyft.
  • Commercial airlines.
  • Commercial rental vehicles and aircraft.
  • Private vehicles, bicycles and aircraft.
  • Rail/Amtrak.

Provided the mode of transportation selected does not conflict with the needs of the Department, the employee may use a more expensive form of transportation and be reimbursed at the amount required for a less expensive mode. An itemized cost comparison of both methods of transportation must be prepared and attached to the travel expense claim.

Expenses arising from travel between home or garage and headquarters will not be allowed.

Third Party Vendors

No reimbursement is allowed for airfare, commercial car rental, and other transportation charges paid to third party vendors (Expedia, Priceline, etc.). See Third Party Vendors.

Choosing a Mode of Transportation

In choosing the most economical method of transportation, the employee and supervisor should consider the following:

  • Availability of public transportation.
  • Availability of transportation at the point of destination.
  • Direct expenses such as:
    • airfare
    • parking cost
    • rail fare
    • vehicle rental fees
    • vehicle mileage, etc.
  • Distance to be traveled.
  • Employee time away from the office.
  • Location of employee's residence, regular workplace, and destination.
  • Location of state garages.
  • Number of employees traveling to the same place at the same time.
  • Time allotted to complete the assignment.

Employee Responsibility

The employee will:

  • Adhere to the State's policy regarding vendor incentives. State employees may use frequent flyer miles and/or points for personal use; however, use of any other vendor incentive is not allowed.
  • Have a valid California driver's license, insurance, and a good driving record when operating a vehicle on official business. The employee will use, and ensure all passengers use, any available safety equipment in any vehicle used for State business.
  • Select the method of transportation that is in the best interest of the Department, considering both direct expenses as well as time.
  • Use public transportation whenever feasible in lieu of using a state or privately-owned vehicle for state travel.
  • Use the Department's travel agency when booking airline, rail, and rental car reservations.

Supervisor Responsibility

The supervisor will:

  • Approve travel and payments certifying that he or she has authorized the travel, that the expenses were incurred in order to conduct official state business and that the expenses claimed are appropriate and in keeping with all rules and regulations.
  • Determine the necessity and reasonableness of the mode of transportation selected for employee travel in accordance with the Department's travel policy.
  • Ensure that the most economical method of transportation is used, considering both the time the employee will be away from the office and the direct cost of the methods of transportation that may be used.
  • Verify that if a more expensive mode of transportation was used, the employee claimed reimbursement for an amount equivalent to the less expensive mode and that the employee did not claim more per diem than allowed under the less expensive mode of transportation.
  • Verify that the employee has a valid California driver's license, insurance, and a good driving record before approving the employee's use of a vehicle for official business.
  • Verify that the employee uses the Departments Travel Agency for booking airline, rail, and rental car reservations.

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