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Mass Transit and Vanpool Commute Program (Program) Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a vanpool?

A vanpool is defined as a group of seven (7) or more people who commute together in a vehicle (state or non-state) specifically designed to carry an appropriate number of passengers.

Who can participate?

Any active state employee whose salary is paid directly by the State of California is eligible to participate in the Program.

Employees may change their participation in the Program on a monthly basis.

Is there a cost to participate?

There is no cost for eligible employees to participate in the Program.

May I claim the mass transit and vanpool commute subsidy if my commute combines using mass transit and/or vanpool with bicycling to work?

Yes. The mass transit and vanpool commute subsidy may be claimed by employees who combine using transit passes and/or vanpool for a portion of their commutes with bicycling for a portion of their commutes.

How do I participate?

According to your department’s internal policy, document your mass transit and/or vanpool commute and submit your reimbursement request.

Are Mass Transit and Vanpool Commute Program reimbursements taxable?

Mass Transit and Vanpool Commute Program reimbursements are not taxable if the reimbursement plan satisfies the Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit (QTFB) requirements under Section 132 (f) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). For more information on qualified transportation fringe benefits, please see SCO’s Payroll Procedures Manual Section N 161 – Transportation Subsidies.

What is the maximum monthly amount I can claim for participating in the Mass Transit and Vanpool Commute Program?

Subsidies for Non-SEIU employees (excluded and represented), unless superseded by current policy or bargaining contract language:

Subsidies for Non-SEIU employees (excluded and represented), unless superseded by current policy or bargaining contract language.

Primary Vanpool Driver Payment

Vanpool Rider Reimbursement

Mass Transit Rider Reimbursement

$100 per month

75% of monthly rider fees up to $65

75% of monthly rider fees up to $65

 

Subsidies for SEIU employees, unless superseded by bargaining contract language:

Subsidies for SEIU employees, unless superseded by bargaining contract language

Primary Vanpool Driver Payment

Vanpool Rider Reimbursement

Mass Transit Rider Reimbursement

$135 per month

75% of monthly rider fees up to $100

75% of monthly rider fees up to $100

How do I submit a mass transit and/or vanpool claim?

Follow the established process for your department. Either submit your claim through CalATERS Global or submit a STD 262A -Travel Expense Claim Form  (TEC).

What happens if I submit a mass transit and/or vanpool claim and I do not meet the eligibility criteria to participate in the Program?

Making a false claim to the State of California by knowingly presenting or knowingly causing to be presented an untrue statement to obtain payment or funds from the State of California is grounds for removal from participation in the program and could result in legal action, including, but not limited to, adverse action. If you make a false claim, you shall reimburse the state for funds you receive for your participation in this Program.

When will I receive my claim check?

Payments Issued by SCO

For departments that process TECs via CalATERS Global, payment is issued in the same manner as your payroll (direct deposit or warrant). Once the form is approved by the department, CalATERS Global takes five business days to issue payment.

Payments Issued by Departments

Departments may have internal processes which include issuing claim checks directly to you.

Whom do I contact to determine the status of my mass transit and/or vanpool claim?

Contact your Accounting Office or your Departmental Program Coordinator. 

What is a primary vanpool driver?

To be eligible for payment under this program, the vanpool driver must be a state employee and must either be:

  • The only regular driver of the van; or
  • When a van has more than one regular driver, must also be the vanpool coordinator.

​No more than one person in a vanpool may be paid under this program at one time.

I am a departmental accounting office. My department has SEIU employees and non-SEIU employees. How will I know which employees get the increased transit subsidy?

Departments should identify which employees are SEIU employees and which employees are non-SEIU employees in order to process the correct subsidies for the correct employees.

I am a departmental accounting office. My department uses a transit agency’s online portal to process employee transit subsidies. My department has SEIU employees and non-SEIU employees. How do I process different transit subsidy amounts for different employees in a transit agency’s online portal?

Follow the established process for your department. Contact the transit agency for information about processing different subsidy amounts for different employees. Transit agencies may allow departments to create an additional account to process the SEIU-specific subsidy. 

  Updated: 12/9/2019
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