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2600 Public Transportation

Travel Policy June 2021

Public transportation includes the following modes of travel:

  • Airplane.
  • Rental car.
  • Train.
  • Bus.
  • Subway.
  • Mass transit.
  • Shuttle.
  • Limousine.
  • Commercial Transportation Companies; including rideshare (Uber, Lyft, etc.).
  • Taxi.

A traveler must determine and use the most economical mode of transportation. This includes the use of a personal car when it is the most economical choice. When traveling to an airport, a traveler should compare the costs of driving and parking a personal car with the cost of a round-trip taxi, shuttle, or rideshare fare.

Itemized receipts are required for all public transportation. Reimbursement for a limousine must include an explanation of why it was the most economical choice.

2610 Contracted Travel Agency

Travel Policy June 2021

The comptroller’s State Travel Management Program (STMP) has awarded contracts with Travel Agency Vendors. DFPS uses National Travel Systems (NTS) to provide state travelers with reservation and ticketing services for airlines and rental cars. Reservations for rental cars may be made by NTS only when in conjunction with a flight reservation.

NTS charges a service fee for all transactions and an additional charge for each after-hour phone call.

The traveler sends an email to National Travel Systems to make business-related airline and rental car reservations on the DFPS Direct Bill Unit account using the contracted travel agency.

The following information is required in the email to NTS:

  • First and last name, gender, and date of birth for each person traveling.
  • Employee ID.
  • Travel Authorization (TA) number – must be in TA Completed status.
  • Email address and phone number of contact person.
  • Departure and return information; including cities, times, and dates.
  • Justification if not booking lowest available fare or if using a non-contracted vendor.
  • Service requested – airfare or airfare with rental car at arrival location.

For reservations, the traveler may use the following contacts:

  • Call 1-866-644-2375 during business hours.
  • After-hour phone calls are only for emergency reservations or flight changes less than 24 hours before a flight. NTS charges a fee for each after-hours phone call.

For information about making reservations directly with state-contracted vendors when coordination of airline and rental car is not needed, see:

2620 Airfare

2630 Rental Cars

An authorized traveler is required to obtain appropriate approvals, which include the completion of the Travel Authorization (TA) process in eTravel, before making any reservations and before traveling. All TAs must be in TA Completed status and list each person who is traveling.

2620 Airfare

Travel Policy September 2023

The State Travel Management Program (STMP) contracted airfares are designed for last-minute, fully refundable travel requirements. City-pairs are special rates for flights between specific cities at a contracted rate. They provide maximum flexibility in traveling, as fares are not subject to restrictions or penalties on last-minute, refundable tickets. However, this flexibility means the rates are not the lowest cost to the state. When possible, a traveler should use 14-day advance or other lower-cost airfares for planned travel for the lowest possible cost to the state.

A traveler must obtain appropriate approvals, including the completion of the Travel Authorization (TA) process in eTravel, if applicable, before making any reservations and before travel. All TAs must be in TA Completed status and list each person traveling.

An authorized traveler may purchase a fare higher than the STMP-contracted fare, but the traveler is only reimbursed for the contracted rate unless the traveler has an approved exception. All contracted and non-contracted airfare is charged to the traveler’s state travel charge card or billed directly to the agency’s state travel charge card account, unless one of the approved exceptions exists. For a list of exceptions, see Section 20.408 of the Texas Administrative Code.

See 2610 Contracted Travel Agency for contact information and instructions.

When selecting a contracted airline, the traveler must select the most cost-effective vendor. The following are state-contracted airlines:

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

The traveler must book direct-billed reservations through the contracted travel agency (National Travel Systems).

2621 Ticket for Required Extra Seat

Travel Policy September 2023

If the airline requires the purchase of a second seat to accommodate a traveler who cannot use a single seat without raising the arm rests, the cost of the extra ticket is reimbursable with a justification included on the Travel Authorization.

If the traveler uses the contracted travel agency (National Travel Systems), the agent books the flight and the extra seat as one reservation. The itinerary sent to the traveler will state the passenger’s name and “extra seat.” DFPS pays for the additional seat charge by direct billing when the reservation is made with the contracted travel agency.

If the traveler paid the expense out of pocket using the state travel charge card, the traveler must enter the expense on the Expense tab in eTravel for reimbursement. Various airlines might have different policies regarding reimbursement for the additional seat if the flight is not fully booked. The traveler requests documentation of the airline’s policy and includes a copy with the travel reimbursement request.

2622 Airline Baggage Fees

Travel Policy June 2021

If an authorized traveler uses an airline that charges baggage fees, DFPS reimburses the traveler only for the first bag. The exception to this reimbursement policy is for an employee traveling away from the office for multiple consecutive weeks with no return home over the weekend. Under this specific circumstance, DFPS reimburses for a second bag. In this instance, the traveler attaches the receipt to the travel claim. This reimbursement does not cover additional charges for excessive baggage weight or size (baggage heavier than 50 lbs. and/or 62 inches, length plus width plus height). Other than as noted in policy, the traveler is responsible for any additional baggage fee or cost.

Baggage used to transport state equipment or materials, and additional baggage for clients, is considered reimbursable. The traveler is responsible for choosing the most cost-effective shipment method, considering all relevant factors such as timeliness of delivery. The traveler should review all rates for UPS Ground shipment or other methods of delivery before using an airline. The authorized traveler must document the purpose of the additional baggage fees in the Trips tab of eTravel and include an explanation why the airline was the most cost-effective shipment method. For example, if the additional baggage fee was for the transport of state equipment, the traveler must specify what equipment was transported. Receipts are required for reimbursement.

Luggage fees associated with state-contracted airlines are as follows, if they meet the criteria above:

  • American Airlines - As of June 1, 2021, the first bag fee is $30, and the second bag is $40.
  • Delta Airlines – As of June 1, 2021, the first bag fee is $30, and the second bag is $40.
  • Southwest Airlines – As of June 1, 2021, the first two checked bags are free.

2630 Rental Cars

Travel Policy September 2023

A traveler must obtain appropriate approvals, which includes the completion of the Travel Authorization (TA) process in eTravel, before making any reservations and before travel. All TAs must be in TA Completed status and list each person traveling.

The traveler is responsible for choosing the most economical travel option available. The Texas Comptroller’s Rental Vehicle vs. Mileage Reimbursement Calculator can help the traveler determine the most cost-effective option. There is a link to the calculator on the Travel Resources webpage on the DFPS intranet. The traveler must consider all relevant factors, including the following:

  • Using the Enterprise or Hertz portal for DFPS employees. There are links to these portals on the Travel Resources and eTravel Resources webpages on the DFPS intranet.
  • Through the state’s contracted travel agency, National Travel Systems, when reserved in conjunction with a flight reservation.

The reservation must be made for the contracted vendors listed above in order for the reservations to be covered under the State Travel Management Program contract provisions, including appropriate insurance coverage.

The traveler reserves the most cost-effective car type, considering all relevant factors. The traveler may not rent a larger vehicle based on personal preference alone. The traveler could be responsible for any additional cost above the standard or intermediate vehicle rate, unless there is a business justification noted on the Travel Authorization. The justification could include any of the following:

  • Transporting two minor clients with their belongings to a new location.
  • Four employees are traveling with training materials to be used for an event.
  • An employee’s physical stature or disability requires a larger vehicle.


A traveler is transporting two clients. The DFPS standard vehicle size is intermediate or standard at a cost of $37 per day, which is adequate for three people. The traveler instead chooses a mid-size SUV from Enterprise at a rate of $56 per day. Based on the number of passengers being transported, the traveler is responsible for the difference of $19 per day plus tax and fees.


The traveler must refuel the rental car to the same level as it was when the car was picked up. The traveler is responsible for repayment of any direct-billed fuel charges over the state average fuel rate.

In eTravel, the traveler must upload the itemized gas receipt to the Travel Claim/Settlement on which the reimbursement is requested. Prepaid gas receipts are not acceptable because that type of transaction does not allow for the required details of price per gallon and number of gallons purchased. Furthermore, prepaid gas receipts allow for cash back and do not guarantee that the prepaid amount was exclusively used on gasoline.

2631 Allowable Rental Car Expenses

Travel Policy June 2021

Reimbursable rental car expenses include the following:

  • A state employee is entitled to reimbursement for the cost of renting a vehicle to conduct state business according to Texas Government Code Section 660.091. The reimbursement includes all applicable taxes and mandatory charges; including LDW (Loss/Damage Waiver or comprehensive), which covers all damage to the rental vehicle if it was rented under the state contract. Liability, which covers persons and property outside the rental vehicle. The amount of this extended liability insurance is $250,000 bodily injury per person, $500,000 bodily injury per occurrence; and $100,000 property damage per occurrence. See State Travel Management Program (STMP) for details on insurance and exceptions.
  • A traveler must purchase the LWD and Liability insurance for a non-contracted vendor if it is not included in the base rental rate.
  • Purchase or reimbursement for rental car expenses may not exceed the contract rental car rate unless an allowable comptroller exception exists. See the Comptroller of Public Accounts exception codes for details.
  • A charge for an additional driver may be reimbursed only if incurred for a business reason if using a non-contracted vendor.

See 2731.2 Business Related Vehicle Expenses.

An authorized traveler is required to obtain appropriate approvals, which includes the completion of the Travel Authorization (TA) process in eTravel, before making any reservations and before travel. All TAs must be in TA Completed status and list each person traveling.

2632 Unallowable Rental Car Expenses

Travel Policy June 2021

Reimbursement does not include the following charges, not limited to:

  • Liability insurance supplements.
  • Personal accident insurance or safe trip insurance.
  • Personal effects insurance.
  • Roadside Service Insurance/Protection.
  • Towing charges.
  • Cost to replace lost keys or keys locked in rental vehicle.
  • Dead battery because lights were left on.
  • Out-of-gas service.
  • Traffic tickets such as illegal parking, moving violation, and so on.
  • Prepaid gasoline receipts (see 2630 Rental Cars).
  • Personal vehicle mileage while rental car is in possession.
  • GPS navigational equipment.
  • Detail charges for excessive spills, stains, or smoking in the vehicle which require professional cleaning
  • Other charges decided on a case-by-case basis. Contact Direct Bill for more information.

For non-reimbursable insurance, an employee can get coverage at his or her own expense. The traveler must pay added insurance out of pocket and may not apply it to the direct billing account. For additional information regarding unallowable reimbursements see STMP for details.

2640 Other Public Transportation Modes


Travel Policy June 2021

On rare occasions, a train may be the most cost-effective travel method, considering all relevant circumstances. The TA process in eTravel is required to request travel by train. The traveler provides sufficient justification in the Purpose and Justification of Trip section of the TA process in eTravel to demonstrate the cost effectiveness. All TAs must be in TA Completed status and list each person traveling before making the reservation.

A traveler may contact NTS, to book the train reservation(s) and have the expense direct billed to DFPS. Original itemized receipts are required and must be uploaded to the Travel Claim/Settlement.

2650 Client Travel by Bus

Travel Policy June 2021

The DFPS Direct Bill Unit makes all bus reservations. The caseworker or other DFPS representative (requestor) must contact the Greyhound Lines, Inc. at 1-800-231-2222 for general schedule information. The Direct Bill Unit needs the schedule information to make the reservation. The requestor and Direct Bill Unit follow these steps:

  • The requestor must email the Direct Bill Unit to make the reservation.
  • The Direct Bill Unit will email a reservation request form to the requestor. A Form AP-152 may also be required.
  • The requestor fills out the reservation request form, completes the Travel Authorization (TA) process in eTravel with supervisor approval, and emails the form(s) to the Direct Bill Unit by 3 p.m. at least 24 hours before travel. Friday reservations received by 3 p.m. will not be processed until after 3 p.m. the next business day.
  • The requestor verifies whether the station has a Will Call window for the traveler to pick up the ticket.
  • The Direct Bill Unit will make the reservation with Greyhound and will email the confirmation to the requestor. Tickets are non-refundable and must be picked up at the Will Call window one hour before departure.

2660 Changes or Cancellations to Travel Reservations

Travel Policy June 2021

Arranged by the State Contracted Travel Agency

If NTS was used to procure travel arrangements, all changes or cancellations must be made through that contracted agency.

Last-Minute Changes for an Earlier or Later Airline Flight

National Travel Systems

Send reservation changes by email to National Travel Systems.

For last-minute reservation changes due to business needs (24/7), call 1-866-644-2375. Each after-hours phone call costs DFPS $17.99 in addition to the fees charged for making the change to the reservation. After-hours calls should be used only in emergency situations.

Airlines require NTS to arrange the new flight at least 90 minutes before the new flight time. This helps ensure that the agency will not incur unnecessary costs due to limited availability of flights or increased prices.

If the traveler is already at an airport, he or she must go to the designated airline counter to request any changes. The traveler may ask at the counter whether there is an additional charge for the change. If there is, the traveler must pay out of pocket, obtain a receipt reflecting the additional charge, and then be reimbursed on a travel claim by attaching the receipt to the claim.

The Direct Bill Unit requires the Travel Authorization (TA) to be updated and in TA Completed status in eTravel for the travel that was changed or canceled to pay the transaction charge that will be billed by NTS. The TA must include the business-related reason for the change or cancellation in the Purpose and Justification of Trip section.

Arranged by the Authorized Traveler Directly with the Vendor

If the traveler makes reservations directly with the vendor (airline, hotel, car rental, bus, or train), he or she is responsible for all changes or cancellations, which must be made in a timely manner according to the vendor’s cancellation policy. Charges billed to the authorized traveler due to late notification or a no-show are not reimbursable without a documented business related reason.

Cancellation charges

A state agency may pay or reimburse a state employee for a cancellation charge if either of the following are true:

  • A reason related to official state business.
  • Official state business that could not be conducted because of a natural disaster or other natural occurrence.
  • The charge is both of the following:
    • Related to a transportation expense that was paid in advance to obtain lower rates.
    • Incurred because the employee was unable to use the transportation because of an illness or a personal emergency.

Texas Government Code §660.015

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