Transit Incentive Program
|Purpose of this Subchapter||This Subchapter gives employees information needed to understand the transit incentive program in USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP): Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).|
|Related Regulations||This Subchapter supplements the regulations stated in MRP Directive 4080.1.|
|General Program Guidelines||MRP will pay for all eligible employees' actual commuting costs, up to $225 per month.
To be eligible, employees must use public transportation and/or a registered vanpool for their daily roundtrip commute to and from work.
Carpool means an arrangement between two or more USDA employees to commute to and from work on a daily basis for the purpose of receiving a Free Federal Parking Benefit (FFPB). A carpool does not qualify as a Commuter Highway Vehicle (Qualified Vanpool).
Cash Reimbursement means an agency reimbursement for an individual’s actual mass transportation commuting costs payable where there are no vouchers or other forms of fare media available in the city to and from which the individual commutes, or where such vouchers or other forms of fare media are temporarily unavailable.
Commuter Benefits Program Coordinator (CBPC) is the designated mission area/agency/staff office individual responsible for administering and overseeing the program.
Employee means a Federal employee as defined by U.S.C. Section 2105, Government Organization and Employees, or a student volunteer providing services under that Section.
Free Federal Parking Benefits (FFPB) is a parking space on limited-access federally owned or leased property provided without charge to a specified employee or the individual members of a carpool.
Metro Access is a shared ride transportation service available throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area offered in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act for individuals who are unable to use public transit due to disability. The shared ride means that multiple passengers may ride together in the same vehicle.
MRP employees must pay for each trip using a TRANServe VISA Debit Card and can now direct the monthly transit benefits to Metro Access. To allocate transit benefits to Metro Access the employee should create a Metro Access EZ-Pay account at www.wmata.com.
National Capital Region (NCR) consists of the District of Columbia; Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Frederick Counties in Maryland; Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William Counties in Virginia, within the geographic area bounded by the outer boundaries of the combined area of the counties listed above.
Pre-Tax Parking Benefit means agencies and Staff Offices may implement a program whereby qualified employees may exclude certain parking expenses from their taxable income. MRP participates in a Pre-Tax Parking Benefit Program.
Smart Benefits is electronic media for participants using Metro Rail, Metro Bus, or other participating transit systems within the NCR. Smart Benefits are electronically added each month to a participant’s registered SmarTrip card.
SmarTrip Autoload means the benefits will remain in an account, like a debit card. The SmarTrip card will access the account and deduct the fare when the employee taps his/her card to a Metrorail faregate or bus farebox. To access his/her account, the employee must use his/her SmarTrip card at least once in the last two weeks prior to the first benefits month. This action prepares the SmarTrip card to access the account. This is only important if the employee had not planned on using their SmarTrip card in the last two weeks of the month. Autoload works on Metro Rail, Metro Bus and the following regional bus systems: ART, CUE, DASH, DC Circulator, Fairfax Connector, Loudoun County Transit, PRTC Omniride, Ride On and The Bus.
Qualified Parking is parking on or near a location from which employees commute to work by commuter highway vehicle, mass transit station, or vanpool.
Qualified Transit Facility Cost is the cost of fare media or similar item entitling a person to transportation (or transportation at a reduced price) on qualified transit facilities.
Qualified Transit Facilities are private or publicly-owned mass transit systems. This includes, but is not limited to, buses, subways, rail, light rail, elevated rail, streetcars, trolleys, ferries, and qualified vanpools.
Qualified Vanpool (Commuter Highway Vehicle) is a highway vehicle with a seating capacity of at least six adults (not including the driver). At least 80 percent of the mileage use of this vehicle can reasonably be expected to be for transporting persons between their residences and their places of employment. During the majority of such trips, the number of persons transported is at least half of the adult seating capacity of the vehicle (not including the driver). In the National Capital Region, vanpools must be registered with the Washington Metro Transit Authority (MTA). In other locations, vanpools must be registered with the local transportation authority in order that local fare media may be provided in lieu of cash reimbursement.
TRANServe Debit Card is a Visa branded electronic fare media card provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It will provide agency approved federal employees the ability to receive their transit benefit electronically.