B-165056, AUGUST 29, 1968, 48 COMP. GEN. 124

B-165056: Aug 29, 1968

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TRAVEL EXPENSES - MILITARY PERSONNEL - TAXICABS - BETWEEN RESIDENCE AND HEADQUARTERS - UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES DEPENDENT ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION WHOSE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY OUTSIDE REGULAR DUTY HOURS IS DURING HOURS OF INFREQUENT TRANSPORTATION SERVICE OR AFTER DARK MAY BE REIMBURSED THE EXPENSE OF TAXICAB FARE FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND PLACE OF ABODE. EVEN THOUGH THE MEMBER IS CONSIDERED TO BE ON DUTY AT ALL TIMES UNLESS EXCUSED. IN VIEW OF THE FACT A MEMBER EXPERIENCES THE SAME PROBLEMS A CIVILIAN ENCOUNTERS IN SIMILAR UNUSUAL TRAVEL CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THE TRAVEL OF THE CIVILIAN OUTSIDE REGULAR DUTY HOURS IS CONSIDERED TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ENTITLING HIM TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL COSTS.

B-165056, AUGUST 29, 1968, 48 COMP. GEN. 124

TRAVEL EXPENSES - MILITARY PERSONNEL - TAXICABS - BETWEEN RESIDENCE AND HEADQUARTERS - UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES DEPENDENT ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION WHOSE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY OUTSIDE REGULAR DUTY HOURS IS DURING HOURS OF INFREQUENT TRANSPORTATION SERVICE OR AFTER DARK MAY BE REIMBURSED THE EXPENSE OF TAXICAB FARE FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND PLACE OF ABODE, EVEN THOUGH THE MEMBER IS CONSIDERED TO BE ON DUTY AT ALL TIMES UNLESS EXCUSED, IN VIEW OF THE FACT A MEMBER EXPERIENCES THE SAME PROBLEMS A CIVILIAN ENCOUNTERS IN SIMILAR UNUSUAL TRAVEL CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THE TRAVEL OF THE CIVILIAN OUTSIDE REGULAR DUTY HOURS IS CONSIDERED TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ENTITLING HIM TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL COSTS. THEREFORE, THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS MAY BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE REIMBURSEMENT TO MEMBERS OF TAXICAB FARES, SUBJECT TO THE SAME LIMITATIONS APPLIED TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES UNDER BUREAU OF THE BUDGET REGULATIONS.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, AUGUST 29, 1968:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JULY 26, 1968, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, VOLUME 1, MAY BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF A TAXICAB FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN THE MEMBER'S PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND HIS PLACE OF ABODE UNDER CERTAIN LIMITED CONDITIONS. THE REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 68-31 BY THE PER DIEM TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT THE CURRENT PROVISIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR USE OF A TAXICAB FOR TRAVEL WITHIN AND ADJACENT TO THE PERMANENT DUTY STATION OF A MEMBER DO NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN THE STATION AND PLACE OF ABODE OTHER THAN IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OR WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS IT IS PROPOSED TO REVISE CHAPTER 4, PART K, OF THE REGULATIONS TO PROVIDE THAT INCIDENT TO THE CONDUCT OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS AT A MEMBER'S PERMANENT DUTY STATION, REIMBURSEMENT WILL BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED FOR THE USUAL TAXICAB FARE PAID FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN THE MEMBER'S PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND HIS PLACE OF ABODE. SUCH REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE LIMITED TO SITUATIONS WHEN (A) A MEMBER IS OFFICIALLY ORDERED TO PERFORM DUTY OUTSIDE OF HIS REGULAR DUTY HOURS, (B) THE MEMBER IS DEPENDENT ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FOR SUCH TRAVEL, AND (C) THE TRAVEL IS DURING HOURS OF INFREQUENTLY SCHEDULED PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OR DARKNESS.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY MENTIONS THAT REIMBURSEMENT AS PROPOSED ABOVE IS NOW AUTHORIZED FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, INCIDENT TO THE CONDUCT OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS AT AN EMPLOYEE'S DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, AND EXPRESSES THE VIEW THAT THE PREMISE FOR SUCH AN ALLOWANCE WOULD BE EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES.

PARAGRAPH 3.4A OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR CIVILAN EMPLOYEES WAS AMENDED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7 OF MAY 31, 1968, TO ADD THE FOLLOWING PROVISION:

INCIDENT TO THE CONDUCT OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS AT AN EMPLOYEE'S DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USUAL TAXICAB FARES PAID BY AN EMPLOYEE FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN HIS OFFICE AND HOME MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED WHEN HE IS DEPENDENT ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FOR SUCH TRAVEL INCIDENT TO OFFICIALLY ORDERED WORK OUTSIDE HIS REGULAR WORKING HOURS, AND HIS TRAVEL IS DURING HOURS OF INFREQUENTLY SCHEDULED PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OR DARKNESS.

CHAPTER 4, PART K, OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATION, VOLUME 1, AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL WITHIN AND ADJACENT TO PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS, IS BASED ON 37 U.S.C. 408, WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE MAY BE DIRECTED, BY REGULATIONS OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY IN WHICH HE IS SERVING, TO PROCURE TRANSPORTATION NECESSARY FOR CONDUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE LIMITS OF HIS STATION. EXPENSES SO INCURRED BY THE MEMBER FOR TRAIN, BUS, STREETCAR, TAXICAB, FERRY, BRIDGE, AND SIMILAR FARES AND TOLLS, OR FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES AT A FIXED RATE A MILE, SHALL BE DEFRAYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY UNDER WHICH HE IS SERVING, OR THE MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSE.

THE PROVISIONS OF 37 U.S.C. 408 ORIGINALLY WERE ENACTED AS SECTION 2 (M) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, 68 STAT. 1129. THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY (PAGE 8, S.REPT. NO. 1941 ON H.R. 8753, 83D CONG., 2D SESS., WHICH BECAME THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954) SHOWS THAT THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS, REFERRING TO SECTION 2 (M), STATED THAT IT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS SUBSECTION TO ALLOW PAYMENT TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR THOSE TRAVELING EXPENSES ON THE SAME BASIS AS PERMITTED FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES. THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATION QUOTED ABOVE ARE BASED ON 5 U.S.C. 5701 TO 5707.

WHILE MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ARE REGARDED AS ON DUTY AT ALL TIMES EXCEPT WHEN EXCUSED, IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT AS A PRACTICAL MATTER THEY NORMALLY ARE REQUIRED TO BE AT THEIR POSTS OF DUTY DURING SPECIFIED HOURS AND IF PERMITTED TO LIVE OFF THE BASE, THEY, LIKE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, MUST, IN MANY INSTANCES, RELY ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TO TRAVEL BETWEEN THEIR STATION AND PLACE OF ABODE. THUS, IF A MEMBER IS OFFICIALLY ORDERED TO PERFORM DUTY OUTSIDE HIS REGULAR DUTY HOURS THE PROBLEM OF TRAVELING BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HIS STATION AND PLACE OF ABODE IS NO DIFFERENT THAN THAT ENCOUNTERED BY THE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE IN SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES.

IT LONG HAS BEEN OUR VIEW THAT GENERALLY TRAVEL BY A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES IN COMMUTING BETWEEN THE LOCATION OF HIS DUTY ASSIGNMENT AND PLACE OF ABODE AT HIS PERMANENT STATION IS A RESPONSIBILITY OF THE TRAVELER. THIS IS BASED ON THE RULE THAT SUCH TRAVEL IS NOT IN ORDINARY CASES REGARDED AS TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. 42 COMP. GEN. 612; 45 ID. 30. THIS LIKEWISE HAS BEEN THE VIEW WITH RESPECT TO SUCH TRAVEL BY CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT. SEE 16 COMP. GEN. 64 AND 27 COMP. GEN. 1, RENDERED PRIOR TO THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, NOW CODIFIED IN 5 U.S.C. 5701 5707. CF. 36 COMP. GEN. 795.

THE PRESENT PROVISIONS OF LAW GOVERNING CIVILIAN AND MILITARY TRAVEL, AS THEY RELATE TO OFFICIAL BUSINESS TRAVEL AT A PERMANENT STATION, ARE QUITE SIMILAR. THE REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, ON MAY 31, 1968, PROVIDING, WITHIN CERTAIN LIMITATIONS, FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF THE TRAVEL HERE CONCERNED BY CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES APPARENTLY IS BASED ON THE PREMISE THAT WHEN THE CONDUCT OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS OUTSIDE OF REGULAR HOURS RESULTS IN AN UNUSUAL TRAVEL SITUATION OF THE TYPE DESCRIBED, THE TRAVEL MAY BE CONSIDERED TO BE TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND THE COST OF THE TRAVEL MAY BE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT. THAT VIEW OF THE MATTER DOES NOT APPEAR TO CONSTITUTE AN UNREASONABLE APPLICATION OF THE PRESENT CIVILIAN STATUTORY PROVISIONS AND WE HAVE NO OBJECTED TO THE REGULATIONS. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES AND SUBJECT TO THE SAME LIMITATIONS, WE SEE NO REASON WHY REIMBURSEMENT MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED FOR SIMILAR TRAVEL BY MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES.

ACCORDINGLY, THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, VOLUME 1, MAY BE AMENDED AS PROPOSED.