B-122951, MAY 11, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 586

B-122951: May 11, 1955

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TRAVEL EXPENSES - USE OF ROUND TRIP TICKET - RETURN BY DIFFERENT ROUTE WHEN NET TRAVEL COST INCREASE IS NOMINAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 16 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. AN EMPLOYEE DOES NOT HAVE TO REMAIN AN ADDITIONAL DAY AFTER THE COMPLETION OF DUTY AT A TEMPORARY STATION IN ORDER TO USE THE RETURN PORTION OF A ROUND-TRIP TICKET WHEN RETURN BY A DIFFERENT ROUTE WILL RESULT IN ONLY A NOMINAL INCREASE IN NET TRAVEL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT. 955: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 9. THE AMOUNT WAS DEDUCTED ADMINISTRATIVELY FROM A PRIOR TRAVEL VOUCHER BEFORE PAYMENT. YOU SAY THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE CLAIM ARE AS FOLLOWS: UNDER DIRECTIONS OF TRAVEL ORDER NO. 55-TX-57.

B-122951, MAY 11, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 586

TRAVEL EXPENSES - USE OF ROUND TRIP TICKET - RETURN BY DIFFERENT ROUTE WHEN NET TRAVEL COST INCREASE IS NOMINAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 16 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH REQUIRE THE USE OF ROUND-TRIP TICKETS WHENEVER PRACTICAL AND ECONOMICAL, AN EMPLOYEE DOES NOT HAVE TO REMAIN AN ADDITIONAL DAY AFTER THE COMPLETION OF DUTY AT A TEMPORARY STATION IN ORDER TO USE THE RETURN PORTION OF A ROUND-TRIP TICKET WHEN RETURN BY A DIFFERENT ROUTE WILL RESULT IN ONLY A NOMINAL INCREASE IN NET TRAVEL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL CAMPBELL TO WILLIAM L. NORFOLK, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, MAY 11, 955:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 9, 1955, REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED PROPOSING PAYMENT OF $4.73 TO ALBERT P. WHEATLEY, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD. THE AMOUNT REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF THE ROUND-TRIP FARE BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, AND THE COST OF THE TWO ONE WAY TICKETS, ONE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO SHREVEPORT, AND ONE FROM MARSHALL, TEXAS, TO WASHINGTON, D.C. THE AMOUNT WAS DEDUCTED ADMINISTRATIVELY FROM A PRIOR TRAVEL VOUCHER BEFORE PAYMENT.

YOU SAY THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE CLAIM ARE AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER DIRECTIONS OF TRAVEL ORDER NO. 55-TX-57, DATED SEPTEMBER 2, 1954, MR. WHEATLEY DEPARTED WASHINGTON ON SEPTEMBER 6TH VIA SOUTHERN RAILWAY ARRIVING IN SHREVEPORT, LA., ON SEPTEMBER 8TH FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING A BOARD HEARING. UPON CONCLUSION OF THE HEARING ON SEPTEMBER 16TH, MR. WHEATLEY FOUND TRANSPORTATION TO WASHINGTON WOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE UNTIL 5:00 P. M. OF SEPTEMBER 17, 1954. RATHER THAN REMAIN IN SHREVEPORT FOR APPROXIMATELY TWENTY-FOUR HOURS, MR. WHEATLEY SECURED A RIDE AT NO EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT TO MARSHALL, TEXAS. DEPARTURE FROM SHREVEPORT WAS AT 7:00 P. M. ON SEPTEMBER 16TH, ARRIVING IN MARSHALL AT 8:30 P.M. TRANSPORTATION WAS SECURED VIA THE TEXAS AND PACIFIC RAILWAY FROM MARSHALL TO WASHINGTON, D. C. MR. WHEATLEY DEPARTED MARSHALL AT 9:10 P. M. ON SEPTEMBER 16TH AND ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON AT 7:30 A. M. SEPTEMBER 18TH.

PARAGRAPH 16 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES--

SPECIAL TICKETS.--- THROUGH TICKETS, EXCURSION TICKETS, REDUCED RATE ROUND-TRIP OR PARTY TICKETS SHOULD BE SECURED WHENEVER PRACTICABLE AND ECONOMICAL.

THE APPLICATION OF THAT PARAGRAPH MUST BE UPON THE FACTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL CASE. THE ADMINISTRATIVE DIFFERENCE STATEMENT SHOWS THAT THE COST OF THE TWO ONE-WAY RAIL FARES UTILIZED BY THE CLAIMANT AMOUNTED TO $98.08, WHILE THE ROUND-TRIP TICKET WOULD HAVE COST $84.35, A DIFFERENCE OF $13.73. THIS WAS REDUCED BY THE ESTIMATED SAVING OF PER DIEM OF $9 BY THE ROUTE USED MAKING THE NET EXCESS COST BY THE USE OF THE TWO-WAY TICKETS $4.73. AS THE EMPLOYEE ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON AT 7:30 A. M., SEPTEMBER 18, SATURDAY, AND WOULD HAVE ARRIVED ON SUNDAY HAD HE USED THE ROUND-TRIP TICKET, THE QUESTION OF WHETHER SALARY SAVINGS ORDINARILY IS A MATERIAL FACTOR IN DETERMINING THE PROPRIETY OF THE USE OF ONE-WAY TICKETS IS NOT FOR CONSIDERATION IN THIS CASE. WE DO NOT CONSIDER IT REASONABLE, HOWEVER, TO HOLD THAT PARAGRAPH 16 OF THE REGULATIONS WAS INTENDED TO BE APPLIED SO AS TO REQUIRE AN EMPLOYEE TO REMAIN AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION FOR APPROXIMATELY 24 HOURS AFTER COMPLETION OF HIS DUTY SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF UTILIZING THE RETURN PORTION OF A ROUND-TRIP TICKET. THIS IS TRUE PARTICULARLY WHERE ONLY A NOMINAL NET INCREASE IN TRAVEL COSTS WOULD RESULT FROM HIS EARLIER DEPARTURE BY A DIFFERENT ROUTE OR DIFFERENT MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCE HERE IN QUESTION, IT IS HELD THAT THE USE OF THE RETURN PORTION OF THE ROUND-TRIP TICKET WAS NOT PRACTICABLE AND ECONOMICAL. THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED AND MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.