B-57940, JUNE 12, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 861

B-57940: Jun 12, 1946

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - SPECIAL CONVEYANCES AN EMPLOYEE WHO COMPLETED HIS OFFICIAL JOURNEY BY TAXICAB FROM AN INTERMEDIATE POINT WHERE HE WAS PRECLUDED FROM USING THE BUS TRANSPORTATION NORMALLY AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BETWEEN THE POINTS OF TRAVEL INVOLVED. TO THE EXTENT OF THE ADDITIONAL PER DIEM WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD HE REMAINED OVERNIGHT AND COMPLETED THE JOURNEY BY BUS THE NEXT DAY. 1946: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 6. THIS VOUCHER CONSTITUTES A RECLAIM FOR AN AMOUNT SUSPENDED FROM THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER FOR THIS PERIOD WHICH WAS PAID ON APRIL 3. THE AMOUNT CLAIMED WAS ORIGINALLY SUSPENDED ON THE BASIS OF PARAGRAPH 11. OR OTHER SPECIAL CONVEYANCE WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY WHEN NO PUBLIC OR REGULAR MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION ARE AVAILABLE OR WHEN SUCH REGULAR MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION CANNOT BE USED ADVANTAGEOUSLY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.

B-57940, JUNE 12, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 861

TRAVELING EXPENSES - SPECIAL CONVEYANCES AN EMPLOYEE WHO COMPLETED HIS OFFICIAL JOURNEY BY TAXICAB FROM AN INTERMEDIATE POINT WHERE HE WAS PRECLUDED FROM USING THE BUS TRANSPORTATION NORMALLY AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BETWEEN THE POINTS OF TRAVEL INVOLVED, UNLESS HE REMAINED OVERNIGHT AT SUCH POINT, MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR TAXICAB FARES UNDER THE SPECIAL CONVEYANCE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, TO THE EXTENT OF THE ADDITIONAL PER DIEM WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD HE REMAINED OVERNIGHT AND COMPLETED THE JOURNEY BY BUS THE NEXT DAY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO A. J. MCCOLLUM, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, JUNE 12, 1946:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 6, 1946, REFERENCE 5-ROL, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO ME FOR CERTIFICATION THE ATTACHED VOUCHER STANDARD FORM 1012, COVERING REIMBURSEMENT TO WALTER B. ANDERSON FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED DURING THE PERIOD MARCH 5-7, 1945. THIS VOUCHER CONSTITUTES A RECLAIM FOR AN AMOUNT SUSPENDED FROM THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER FOR THIS PERIOD WHICH WAS PAID ON APRIL 3, 1945, UNDER D.O. VOUCHER NO. 4282704, BY G. F. ALLEN, SYMBOL 104-2350.

THE AMOUNT CLAIMED WAS ORIGINALLY SUSPENDED ON THE BASIS OF PARAGRAPH 11, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH STATES:

SPECIAL CONVEYANCES.--- THE HIRE OF BOAT, AUTOMOBILE, AIRCRAFT, LIVERY, OR OTHER SPECIAL CONVEYANCE WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY WHEN NO PUBLIC OR REGULAR MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION ARE AVAILABLE OR WHEN SUCH REGULAR MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION CANNOT BE USED ADVANTAGEOUSLY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT, IN WHICH CASE A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION MUST ACCOMPANY THE ACCOUNT. (SEE PAR. 83 (E).

IT APPEARS FROM THE STATEMENT MADE BY THE TRAVELER ON HIS ORIGINAL VOUCHER, THAT USE OF A TAXICAB FROM MARIANNA, FLORIDA TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS AT GREENWOOD, FLORIDA, RESULTED FROM FAILURE OF THE BUS WHICH HE BOARDED AT LAKE CITY TO FOLLOW A ROUTE WHICH INCLUDED A STOP AT GREENWOOD, FLORIDA. UPON ARRIVAL IN MARIANNA AT 12:40 A.M. ON MARCH 7, 1945, THE TRAVELER WAS THEREFORE CONFRONTED WITH THE ALTERNATIVES OF CONTINUING TO GREENWOOD BY SPECIAL CONVEYANCE OR OF SECURING LODGING FOR THE NIGHT IN MARIANNA AND PROCEEDING TO GREENWOOD ON THE NEXT AVAILABLE BUS AT 7:00 A.M. ON MARCH 7, 1945.

THE TRAVELER, NOT UNREASONABLY, SELECTED THE FORMER COURSE AND PROCEEDED TO GREENWOOD BY TAXICAB AT A PERSONAL COST OF $3.50 FOR WHICH A RECEIPT IS ATTACHED TO HIS VOUCHER ( PARAGRAPH 80 (E) S.G.T.R. ). IT IS NOT CONTENDED BY THE TRAVELER THAT USE OF THE SPECIAL CONVEYANCE RESULTED IN ANY PARTICULAR ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT, BUT ON THE CONTRARY, CLAIM IS MADE FOR THE COST OF SUCH CONVEYANCE ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THE ADDITIONAL PER DIEM WHICH WOULD OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN INCURRED--- VIZ, ONE-QUARTER DAY AT $5.00 PER DAY OR $1.25. AN ADJUSTMENT OF $0.20 HAS BEEN SECURED FROM THE BUS COMPANY ON ACCOUNT OF NON-USE OF THE TICKET SECURED WITH TRANSPORTATION REQUEST NO. A 428,267 FROM MARIANNA TO GREENWOOD, FLORIDA; HOWEVER, THE TRAVELER HAS NOT CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THIS AMOUNT.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER, UNDER EXISTING REGULATIONS, I MAY PROPERLY CERTIFY THE ATTACHED VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT ON THE BASIS PRESENTED.

IT APPEARS FROM THE FOREGOING THAT THE DUTIES OF THE TRAVELER NECESSARILY REQUIRED HIM TO TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS TO, AND FROM, LAKE CITY, FLORIDA; THAT SUCH TRAVEL NORMALLY WAS FOR PERFORMING BY BUS, AND THAT THE AMOUNT RECLAIMED (PLUS THE AMOUNT HERETOFORE PAID) REPRESENTS ONLY THE AMOUNT THE TRIP WOULD HAVE COST THE GOVERNMENT HAD TRANSPORTATION BEEN VIA BUS ALL THE WAY. ALSO, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT HAD BUS BEEN USED FOR THE PORTION OF THE TRIP IN QUESTION TRAVELER WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO REMAIN IN MARIANNA, FLORIDA, FROM 12:40 A.M. TO 7 A.M., FOR TRANSPORTATION FOR A TRIP NORMALLY REQUIRING BUT 16 MINUTES FOR ITS COMPLETION.

IN CONSTRUING THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IT HAS BEEN HELD REPEATEDLY THAT TAXICABS MAY NOT BE SUBSTITUTED FOR CHEAPER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION WHEN AVAILABLE UNLESS THE GOVERNMENT BUSINESS COULD NOT BE SATISFACTORILY PERFORMED BY THE USE OF SUCH LESS EXPENSIVE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 310, AND CASES THEREIN CITED. HOWEVER, IN EXCEPTIONAL CASES WHEN THE USE OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCES IS REQUIRED FOR THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT RATHER THAN FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR PREFERENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE (21 COMP. GEN. 1093), OR WHERE MORE ECONOMICAL TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES ARE NOT ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC AT THE TIME, IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT SUCH CHARGES PROPERLY MAY BE REGARDED AS REIMBURSABLE ITEMS OF TRANSPORTATION. SEE, GENERALLY 17 COMP. GEN. 711. IN THE INSTANT CASE WHILE CHEAPER TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES NORMALLY WERE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED, THE TRAVELER APPARENTLY WAS PRECLUDED FROM USING SUCH FACILITIES BY REASON OF AN EXCESSIVE DELAY IN MAKING CONNECTIONS. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, SUCH A CONDITION MAY BE CONSIDERED AS SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THE SITUATION DISCUSSED IN THE LAST CITED DECISION (17 COMP. GEN. 711), WHERE NO PUBLIC CONVEYANCES WERE AVAILABLE AT THE TIME BETWEEN THE VARIOUS LOCATIONS AND PLACES MENTIONED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.