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California State University, Fullerton

Commuter Choice Program Polices and Procedures

I. Goals

CSUF offers a Commuter Choice Program designed to reduce the number of single occupant vehicle (SOV) trips to the campus. A major part of this effort is aimed at faculty and staff (employees) and designed to help the campus comply with the Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Rule 2202. The Rule requires employers with 250 or more employees to provide commute options during peak commute hours of 6AM to 10AM which reduces mobile source emissions and to comply with the Federal Clean Air Act. Commute options include carpool, rail, transit, walk, bike and vanpool. A secondary goal of the Commuter Choice Program is to mitigate parking demand and traffic congestion on the main campus.

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II. General Regulations

A. Participation Privilege
Participation in CSUF’s Commuter Choice program is a privilege and not a right of employment. Transportation Services reserves the right to deny enrollment to anyone who does not meet qualification requirements and/or follow the policies and procedures set forth herein. Participants must comply with the regulations of the programs in which they participate and must practice good conduct in order to retain participation privileges. Failure to comply may result in program disqualification. Depending on the severity of the abuse, the case may also be referred to the appropriate Dean or Vice President.

B. Commute Options
Participants can only register for one Commute Option. The Commute Option is chosen at the time of registration. Commute options are: F/S Carpool Parking, Commuter Rewards (walk and bike), E-Pass (OCTA bus), Metro (LA county bus) pass reimbursement, other transit pass reimbursement, rail pass reimbursements (train), or vanpool reimbursement.

C. Other Restrictions Not Listed
This policy and procedures document may not contain all Commuter Choice program restrictions. There may be other circumstances/situations that arise. Each circumstance/situation will be evaluated and the appropriate decision/action will be determined at that time.

D. Abuse of Incentives
Submitting false claims against the Commuter Choice Program is misuse of state funds and is illegal. Participants who submit false claims are subject to losing their program participation and/or incentive privileges, disciplinary action or criminal prosecution. Depending on the severity of the abuse, the case may also be referred to the appropriate Dean or Vice President.

E. Notification of Status Obligation
Employees are responsible for notifying Transportation Services of changes in employment status or in the transportation mode for which they receive incentives. This includes, but is not limited to parking permit purchases. Only participants who do not own parking permits receive full monthly incentives. See Participants without Parking Permits section III.C.

F. Yearly Commuter Survey
As part of its compliance program, the University is required to submit an annual Employee Commute Reduction Plan to the AQMD. This plan includes details of the campus' Commuter Choice programs and incentives and aggregate data collected from an annual employee commute survey. This survey tracks how employees travel to campus over a five-day (Monday through Friday) period. The survey yields an Average Vehicle Ridership number (AVR) and serves to illustrate the efficacy of CSUF’s Commuter Choice programs.

Commuter Choice program participants who are chosen to complete an AQMD commuter survey must complete it true and correct to the best of their knowledge. Participants who do not complete the survey are subject to Commuter Choice program disqualification.

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III. Financial Regulations

A. Incentive Payments
Participants can only receive monthly financial incentives from one Commute Option. The Commute Option is chosen at the time of registration. Commute options are: Commuter Rewards (walk and bike), E-Pass (OCTA bus), Metro (LA county bus) pass reimbursement, other transit pass reimbursement, rail pass reimbursements (train), or vanpool reimbursement.

B. Taxable Income
Per Internal Revenue Code, Section 132 (f) employers may subsidize the cost ($120 per month maximum) of employees' commute to work by transit or vanpool only. Transit is defined as rail or bus. All financial incentives received from the Commuter Choice Program (Titan Tender or by check) are considered taxable reportable income and will be reported to the State Controller's Office on a monthly basis. With exception are transit and vanpool subsidies up to $120 monthly. Tax deductions will be reflected on monthly payroll checks following the date incentives are disbursed.

C. Participants without CSUF Parking Permits
Participants who do not own parking permits are eligible to receive full monthly financial incentives ($120 maximum).

D. Participants with CSUF Parking Permits
Participants who own a parking permit are eligible to receive 25% of monthly financial incentives ($30 maximum).

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IV. Eligibility

A. Program Eligibility
Permanent full-time or part-time state, Foundation or AS employees are eligible to participate in the CSUF Commuter Choice Program. Employees must be part-time or more in an appointment that exceeds six (6) months (7.5 teaching units per academic year for faculty, Unit 3). Teaching assistants, graduate assistants, student assistants are not eligible. If an appointment cannot be verified using People Directory, an employee will be asked to provide employment verification by submitting a copy of their appointment letter/contract or a memo from their Human Resources department.

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V. Application Process/Registration

A. Registration
To register, employees must complete a Commuter Choice Registration Form. Applicants must provide home address, work location, employment status and other general information. Incomplete forms may cause delays in program enrollment. Registration forms received before the 15th of the month, upon program approval, may start claiming incentives that month (example: registration forms received January 1st -15th, may claim incentives in January. Registration forms received January 15th - 30th, may claim incentives in February).

B. Evaluation
Eligibility will be determined using the criteria specified in section IV.A. Transportation Services will evaluate and approve or deny the applicant. If an appointment cannot be verified using CMS, an employee will be asked to provide employment verification by submitting a copy of their appointment letter/contract or a memo from their Human Resources department. If further information is required, or the applicant does not qualify for program enrollment, the applicant will be notified using the e-mail address they provided.

C. Enrollment Confirmation
Once the application has been approved, a confirmation packet will be sent through campus mail confirming program enrollment. The confirmation letter will indicate program participation “start date”, which is the date participants can start claiming incentives. Tracking forms received prior to the designated “start date” will not be accepted.

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VI. Tracking and Monitoring

A. Maintaining Program Eligibility
Participants are to keep a daily account of how they commute to campus on monthly tracking forms. This applies to all commute options (Commuter Rewards, Carpool Parking Permit, Rail, E-Pass, Metro/ Transit and Vanpool programs). Participants must commute using their selected mode of transportation at least 70% of the workdays determined by their work schedule to receive incentives/subsidies and qualify for the supplementary Commuter Choice Program incentives (GRT, Recruitment Bonus, Drawings, etc.). Tracking forms must be submitted monthly per the submittal calendar, generally the 5th business day of the following month. Failure to submit monthly forms will result in program disqualification.

B. Tracking Forms
Participants must record their daily participation on the tracking forms issued by Transportation Services. This applies to all commute options (Commuter Rewards, Carpool Parking Permit, Rail, E-Pass, Metro/ Transit and Vanpool programs). Forms may be submitted to Transportation Services electronically or through campus mail. Tracking forms must be received by the fifth business day of the following month (see submittal calendar for exact dates). Failure to submit monthly forms will result in program disqualification. Late forms will not be accepted, no exceptions. Claims on tracking forms must be true and correct. Participants cannot claim rewards/reimbursements on the days Infrequent Need (Rideshare) or Inclement Weather permits are issued (see section VIII.A and B). Program disqualification will result if a participant reports false information (see Abuse of Incentives section II.D).

C. Valid Days to Claim Incentives
Incentives/reimbursements will only be paid out for Monday - Friday scheduled work days. Incentives/reimbursements will not be paid for weekend trips or on days the campus is officially closed (this includes days when personal time must be used during the December holiday break). Participants must commute using their selected mode of transportation at least 70% of the workdays determined by their work schedule to receive incentives/reimbursements and to qualify for the supplementary Commuter Choice Program incentives (GRT, Recruitment Bonus, Drawings, etc.).

D. Tracking Form Reminders
Transportation Services will make every effort to send monthly courtesy electronic mail messages reminding participants of tracking form due dates. It is the participant’s responsibility to send in tracking forms by deadline dates (see section VI.E) in the event courtesy electronic mail messages are not sent or not received by participant.

E. Tracking Form Confirmation
Transportation Services will make every effort to send electronic mail messages confirming receipt of tracking forms received in person, by fax or campus mail. Electronic forms sent through the website will generate an automatic confirmation. Please print and keep copies of confirmations for your records.

F. Reimbursements/Commuter Rewards
All reimbursements and reward requests will be reviewed and approved by Parking & Transportation senior staff. Check requests will be submitted to Accounts Payable for processing. Participants should allow 6 weeks for processing. Vanpool subsidies will be determined when a CSUF vanpool is implemented. Commuter Rewards are reported to the State Controller's office as taxable income. See Taxable Income section III.B.

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VII. Commute Options

A. Commuter Rewards Program

Participants who walk or bicycle to work, and do not own a parking permit may earn $2 per day. Participants who walk or bicycle to work, and own a parking permit may earn 50 ¢ per day. Commuter Rewards are disbursed monthly in the form of a check or direct deposit. To sign up for direct deposit, click here to fill out the form. See Commuter Rewards Posting section VI.F for coinciding dates.

Commuter Rewards Regulations

  • Riding any type of motorized bicycle does not qualify as “bicycle”.
  • Riding the bus and walking to campus does do not qualify as a “walk”.
  • Participants can only receive monthly financial incentives from one Commute Option. See Incentive Payments section III.A.
  • Tracking forms are required. See Tracking Forms section VI.B.
  • Eligible Commuter Rewards participants may request Inclement Weather and infrequent need Rideshare daily parking permits. See section VIII.A and B.
  • Commuter rewards are reported to the State Controller's office as taxable income. See Taxable Income section III.B.
  • Participants who do not follow the program regulations are subject to program disqualification. See Abuse of Incentives section II.D.

B. Carpool Parking Program

Reserved carpool parking spaces are available in Faculty/Staff carpool zones from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, Monday through Friday. After 10:00 am, CSUF Faculty/Staff parking permits are valid in the carpool zones and CSUF Parking & Traffic Regulations for Faculty/Staff parking lots apply.

Transportation Services will only issue one (1) supplemental carpool permit to each carpool group. At a minimum, one participant from each carpool group must own a paid faculty/staff parking permit.

Each employee in a carpool group that owns a maximum of one (1) CSUF parking permit will receive $1 for every day they carpool to campus. Employees in a carpool group that own more than one CSUF parking permit will receive 50¢ for every day they carpool to campus.

Expiration and Renewal Process
Carpool permits will be issued on a semester basis. Carpool permit renewals are the responsibility of the participant. Renewal information will be sent to the participant prior to the expiration date. Participants are required to review their records and are responsible to submit any changes.

Review Process
Carpool permit renewals are not automatic. All requests will be reviewed to ensure that the participant continues to meet program eligibility requirements.

Carpool Parking Probation
Carpool participants who have not met program requirements, specifically failure to submit tracking forms, will not be issued a new carpool permit. Participants will be placed on “probation” for three (3) months and must reestablish themselves in the program by submitting tracking forms during their probationary period. Renewal requests will be evaluated once the probationary period is over.

Carpool Parking Regulations

  • A minimum of two (2) Faculty / Staff employees must be carpooling to campus together.
  • Employees must live at least 2 miles away from campus, within a close proximity of each other or commute to campus along the same route (carpooling at least 50% of the commute). Picking up employees at a train station does not constitute a carpool.
  • You may only park in the reserved carpool spots on the days you actually carpool.
  • Two (2) or more faculty/staff employees must be in the vehicle when parking in any carpool zone.
  • Participants may not park in carpool spaces on days they do not carpool.
  • Carpool permits will not be issued if any individual in a carpool group owns a special parking permit.
  • The supplemental carpool permit must hang from the rearview mirror of the parked vehicle and must be displayed with a valid CSUF paid permit.
  • Eligible participants may request Infrequent need Rideshare daily parking permits. See section VIII.A.
  • Tracking forms are required. See Tracking Forms section VI.B.

Enforcement:

  • Parking & Transportation staff will enforce carpool parking spaces to ensure all program regulations are being followed.
  • Parking tickets will be issued to vehicles parked in reserved carpool spaces without the valid carpool permit. Participants will be responsible for parking tickets issued to expired carpool permits.
  • Participants who do not follow the program regulations are subject to program disqualification. See Abuse of Incentives section II.D.

C. OCTA Employer Pass (E-Pass) Program

Current faculty, staff and emeriti may ride OCTA for free with the E-Pass program. Employees swipe their pass through the fare box inside the bus, and the fare is automatically paid on all local routes.

E-Pass Distribution
Employees must pick up a bus pass from the Parking & Transportation Office. The E-Pass is valid for one year and will expire on the last day of June. 

E-Pass Regulations:

  • Restrictions apply to rail riders using OCTA to and from local train stations. See Rail Program section VII.F for details.
  • E-Passes will not be replaced. Card holders must purchase a new pass directly from OCTA. 

D. E-Pass/Commuter Choice Program

Eligible employees using E-Pass, who do not own parking permits may join the Commuter Choice program and be eligible for the supplementary Commuter Choice incentives (GRT, Recruitment Bonus, Rideshare permits, drawings, etc.).

 

E-Pass/Commuter Choice Regulations

E. Metro/Transit Pass Reimbursement Program

Participants who live in LA County, riding Metro buses (Metro routes 275, 362, 460, 490) that operate into Orange County or connect with OCTA buses receive a reimbursement for their commute to CSUF. Eligibility for reimbursement will be contingent upon use of OCTA bus routes providing direct service to CSUF for that month of reimbursement. E-Pass ridership logs will be used to verify transfers.

Other Transit Systems: Participants who live outside Orange County and use Foothill Transit, Laguna Beach Municipal Transit, Long Beach Transit and Riverside transit connecting with OCTA bus routes that provide direct service to CSUF, may be reimbursed $19 to $75 (the cost of an Metro monthly pass).

Participants who do not own a parking permit receive a 100% reimbursement up to $75.

Participants who own a parking permit receive a 25% reimbursement up to $19.

MTA /Transit Reimbursement Regulations:

  • For Metro, applicants must live in LA county or city serviced by Metro.
  • For other transit agencies, applicants must live outside Orange County.
  • Other transit systems must be approved by Transportation Services.
  • Bus Pass reimbursement/tracking form and expired bus pass copy (not receipt) must be turned in no later than the 5th business day of the month after the month of travel. (Example: January pass reimbursements must be submitted no later than February 5th). Late reimbursement/tracking forms will not be processed. NO EXCEPTIONS . See Tracking Forms section VI.B.
  • Participants can only receive monthly financial incentives from one Commute Option. See Incentive Payments section III.A.
  • Eligible participants may request infrequent need Rideshare daily parking permits. See section VIII.A.
  • Participants who do not follow the program regulations are subject to program disqualification. See Abuse of Incentives section II.D.

F. Rail Reimbursement Program

Participants commuting to campus by rail (Metrolink and Amtrak) may receive a reimbursement. Participants may be reimbursed 25% to 100% of the monthly rail cost.

Participants who do not own a parking permit receive a 100% reimbursement ($120 maximum).

Participants who own a parking permit receive a 25% reimbursement ($30 maximum).

Transportation to and from train stations
Metrolink rail commuters receive no-cost transportation to and from local train stations on OCTA bus lines by showing their rail pass when boarding an OCTA bus. E-Pass should not be used by Metrolink commuters to and from local train stations. Metrolink commuters using E-Pass as transportation to and from local train stations may be deducted the E-pass fare from their monthly reimbursement. This does not apply to Amtrak commuters. There are no restrictions to use E-Pass during the day or on weekends (during lunch, errands).

Rail Reimbursement Regulations:

  • Rail reimbursement/tracking form and rail pass copy (not receipt) must be turned in no later than the 5th day of the month after the month of travel. (Example: January pass reimbursements must be submitted no later than February 5th) Late reimbursement/tracking forms will not be processed. NO EXCEPTIONS . See Tracking Forms section VI.B.
  • Participants can only receive monthly financial incentives from one Commute Option. See Incentive Payments section III.A.
  • Eligible participants may request infrequent need Rideshare daily parking permits. See section VIII.A.
  • Participants who do not follow the program regulations are subject to program disqualification. See Abuse of Incentives section II.D.

G. Vanpool Program

Participants using 3rd party vanpool services (VPSI, Enterprise) may be reimbursed 25% to 100% of the monthly vanpooling cost.

Participants who do not own a parking permit receive 100% reimbursement ($120 maximum per month).
Participants who own a parking permit receive 25% reimbursement ($30 maximum per month).

Vanpool Regulations:

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VIII. Commuter Choice Supplementary Programs

A. Rideshare Permits for Infrequent Need

Registered participants who do not own a parking permit may be reimbursed for a Rideshare Permit for infrequent appointments/errands. This program has been developed to meet the needs of those who have an infrequent need to park their vehicle on campus.

Rideshare Parking Permit Regulations

  • There is a maximum of two (2) Rideshare permits per month limit - NO EXCEPTIONS .
  • Permits cannot be issued in advance, accrued, or redeemed for cash.
  • Participants cannot claim Rewards/reimbursements on the days a Rideshare permit is issued.
  • To obtain a Rideshare permit, eligible participants must stop by the Parking & Transportation Office, T-14.
  • After purchasing a Rideshare Permit, eligible participants must submit the original permits with their monthly forms in order to receive a reimbursement.
  • Participants who do not follow the program regulations are subject to program disqualification. See Abuse of Incentives section II.D.

B. Inclement Weather Daily Parking Permits

Eligible walkers and cyclists who do not own a parking permit may be reimbursed for parking permits during inclement weather.

Inclement Weather Parking Permit Regulations:

  • Hot days are not considered inclement weather.
  • Participants cannot claim Rewards/reimbursements on the days an Inclement Weather Permit is issued.
  • To obtain an Inclement Weather permit, eligible participants must stop by the Parking & Transportation Office, T-14.
  • After purchasing a Rideshare Permit, eligible participants must submit the original permits with their monthly forms in order to receive a reimbursement.
  • Participants who do not follow the program regulations are subject to program disqualification See Abuse of Incentives section II.D.

C. Guaranteed Return Trip (GRT)

In the event of a personal emergency or illness during scheduled work hours, registered participants can receive immediate transportation at no cost. The GRT Program contracts with “Yellow Cab” taxi company. The GRT Program is available to all Commuter Choice registered participants. GRT forms will be included in the Commuter Choice Welcome Packet.

A GRT emergency is defined as:

  • Becoming ill at work.
  • A member of an immediate family becomes ill or is injured while you are at work. “Immediate family” is defined as a close relative residing in the immediate household of the employee.
  • A supervisor requires a participant to work past their regular working hours and a carpool or vanpool partner(s) have left.
  • Participants must be notified of overtime on the day the overtime has to be worked.
  • If a carpool driver has to leave unexpectedly during the day, leaving a participant without a ride home.
  • Other urgent situations should be discussed with Parking & Transportation Services before a guaranteed ride is arranged.

Arranging Service:

  • Participants must complete the GRT Voucher as payment for Yellow Cab driver.
  • Participants must contact their supervisor before leaving campus and have him/her sign the Voucher acknowledging that they are leaving campus due to an emergency situation.
  • Participants contact “Yellow Cab” taxi using information provided in the GRT information packet.

GRT Regulations

  • Participants must forward a completed Follow-up Report to Transportation Services (T-14) within seven days of returning to work.
  • Maximum usage: 3 times or $150 per fiscal year.
  • Using GRT due to a late or missed train is not allowed.
  • Participants using GRT for situations not defined above will be invoiced the cost of the service.
  • Participants who do not follow the program regulations are subject to program disqualification. See Abuse of Incentives section II.D.

D. Recruitment Bonus

Participants who recruit another eligible employee to join the Commuter Choice Program can receive $25 in Commuter Rewards.

Recruitment Bonus Regulations

  • The employee must have never been enrolled in the current or any previous CSUF Commuter program.
  • The employee can not be recruited more than once.
  • The employee must participate for at least three consecutive months.
  • The recruiter must remain active in the Commuter Choice Program in order to receive the recruitment bonus.
  • The recruitment bonus is contingent upon the recruited participants eligibility and participation in the Commuter Choice Program.
  • The recruiter's name must appear on the recruited participants initial "Registration Form" in order for bonus to be processed.
  • The Recruitment Bonus will be posted as Commuter Rewards on the corresponding posting date following the three months of participation. See submittal calendar for exact dates.
  • Commuter rewards are reported to the State Controller's office as taxable income. See Taxable Income section III.B.
  • Participants who do not follow the program regulations are subject to program disqualification. See Abuse of Incentives section II.D.

E. Quarterly/Yearly Drawings

Commuter Choice Program participants who have a minimum of 12 days participation are entered into a quarterly drawing. Two winners will be selected each quarter and once each year.

Quarterly/Yearly Drawing Regulations

  • All participants who qualified for the quarterly drawings will be entered into an annual drawing. Two winners will be selected annually.
  • Prizes are to be determined, but will value approximately $50 for the quarterly and $100 for the annual drawing.
  • Prizes are posted to participants TitanCard or issued a check.
  • Prizes are reported to the State Controller's office as taxable income. See Taxable Income section III.B.

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