Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Contractors May Be Able To Save Money by Using Alternative (Modern) Transportation Options

Earlier this year, several House Democrats and Republicans introduced a bipartisan bill to help solidify ridesharing and other innovative transportation services as part of the broader Government transportation "ecosystem". The Bill would give federal employees greater flexibility and choice when they travel on official business, and, according to the press release, "bring government travel into the 231st century".

Innovative modes of transportation refers to companies like Uber and Lyft but also includes bikesharing (popular in Europe but heavily subsidized in the US). At congressional request, GSA (General Services Administration) agreed to remind agencies that they can reimburse employees' ridesharing expenses for official travel. The new bill will require that Agencies keep transportation options for federal workers updated to reflect the most cost-effective technology.

GSA will be required to implement regulations to allow federal employees to use alternative transportation options such as Uber, Lyft, and bike-share for official travel. The Bill would also require GSA to submit annual reports to Congress on the implementation of these regulations and resulting amount of government savings.

Contractors may also have an opportunity to reduce travel costs by "encouraging" employees to use these alternative transportation options. The rapid rise in the popularity of Uber and Lyft for personal use means that the services are both convenient and cost-effective. Unless contractors have travel policies and procedures that encourage employees to consider these alternative options however, employees will often resort to the familiar methods (e.g. taxis, POVs, and airport shuttles).

It wouldn't surprise us if in the not too distant future, the FAR cost principles will be addressing these alternative transportation options.

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