Your employees may be wondering how to use up their commuter benefits. Here are some common ways they can use them.
Commuter benefits ordinances may vary slightly depending on location, and employers determine which expenses are eligible. However, here are some main options for employees.
Can employees pay for parking with their commuter benefits funds?
Employees can generally use commuter benefits funds to pay for parking their vehicle on or near their employer’s business premises, or at a location they use to commute to work.
Eligible parking expenses can include:
- Parking meters
- Parking fees for parking on or near locations used to commute to work including:
- Mass transit facilities, such as train, bus, or subway stations
- Commuter highway vehicles
Can employees use commuter benefits funds for airfare?
Generally, commuter benefits funds cannot be used for airfare.
Can employees use their commuter benefits funds for bicycle expenses?
Employees can consider establishing a bicycle reimbursement program, which allows for employees to get reimbursed for common bike-related expenses.
Can employees use commuter benefits funds to pay for taxi fare?
Typically, employees can’t use commuter benefits funds to take a taxi. However, some employers allow commuter benefits funds to pay for Lyft Line and UberPool rides.
Can employees use commuter benefits funds to pay for tolls or e-zpass?
Generally, employees can’t use commuter benefits funds to pay for tunnel, bridge, or highway tolls (E-ZPass).
Can employees use their commuter benefits funds to pay for business travel expenses?
Generally, no. Commuter benefits are typically only used for travel between home and work — not for expenses related to traveling from an office to another business or client meetings.
Can employees pay for transit expenses with their commuter benefits funds?
Employees can use typically use their commuter benefits funds to pay for passes, token, fare cards, vouchers, or similar items for their own transportation on mass transit. Mass transit can include buses, rails, and ferries.
However, this often does not apply to transit for employees’ spouses or dependents.
Can employees use their commuter benefits funds to pay for gas?
Employees usually can’t use commuter benefits funds to pay for fuel, mileage, or other costs related to their personal vehicle.
How can employees get reimbursed for out-of-pocket commuter benefits expenses?
If an employees paid out of pocket for an expense that’s covered by their commuter benefits, e.g., if their card was declined at a parking meter or Caltrain station, or if their simply didn’t have their card on hand, they can submit a claim to their commuter benefits administrator for reimbursement.
What is a commuter highway vehicle?
A commuter highway vehicle is any highway vehicle with a seating capacity of at least 6 adults, not including the driver.
A private or publicly-owned vehicle can qualify as a commuter highway vehicle as long as the following criteria is met:
- It’s used 80% of the time for the purpose of transporting employees between their residences and their places of employment.
- The number of employees it transports for such purposes is, on average, at least half of its adult seating capacity.
Can employees use their commuter benefits funds to pay for a Lyft or Uber?
There are specific limitations when using your commuter benefit funds to pay for a Lyft or Uber. Make sure you’re in compliance with all 3 limitations listed below.
- Commuter benefits funds can only be used to pay for Lyft Line or UberPOOL.
- They cannot be used for regular Lyft or Uber rides.
- The Lyft Line commuter benefit is available in these cities.
- The UberPOOL commuter benefit is available in all U.S. cities where UberPOOL is available.
How does it work?
Lyft Line and UberPOOL matches you with others traveling the same way, letting you split the cost of the ride. When you use your prepaid transit commuter benefits card, you can save over 30% on rides pre-tax. Users cannot submit claims for UberPool or Lyft Line rides — they can only use the card.