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Use of University Owned Vehicles

[Policy/Procedure]Last Updated: September 2014

Buses

University-owned buses are maintained for the purpose of providing transportation for official business of the university. Official business involving use of buses is outlined in the priorities listed below. In accordance with monies budgeted by departments for travel by buses, department chairmen and heads are delegated the responsibility to approve requests for the use of university-owned or controlled buses.  Occasionally, the demand for charter or shuttle bus service is greater than NIU Transportation Services can provide internally.  In those circumstances, the manager of Transportation Services may arrange for a contracted bus to be provided. The higher cost of a contracted bus may be passed on to the user. No higher priority use may bump an already-scheduled, lower-priority use within 15 calendar days of that scheduled trip. Priority for use of buses is as follows:

  1. For use directly related to instruction in which the use may be considered as part of a credit course. For such use students may be requested to contribute toward the expense of the trip.
  2. For use directly related to educationally-related activities such as workshops: institutes either for or not for credit. For this use, the workshop or the institute is expected to pay for the use of the buses.
  3. For use by academic departments for educationally-related purposes.
  4. For use directly related to recognized intercollegiate activities. Involved herein is transportation for athletic teams and their coaches. Intercollegiate Athletics bears expenses herein.
  5. For use of sponsored activities. Student activities that are sponsored with funds from student activities fees or other university funds are normally permitted the use of university buses for their activities. Such activities of course must be legal and in the public interest in the judgment of the president. The fund of the student activity itself or payment by the users is necessary to pay for the transportation involved.
  6. For uses involved in public relations. The use of university-owned or controlled buses for travel involving public relations is necessarily limited. Even though many university-related organizations have established accounts within the university, their use of buses requires approval by the president or his designee. Generally, it is not possible to permit use of buses by organizations listed with accounts identified as "convenience amounts" and "other organizations." The use of buses for travel related to conferences is limited to use by university-sponsored groups, and even in such latter cases must be approved by the president or his designee and must be paid for by the user.

Faculty, staff, and students of NIU, in accordance with the above priorities, are given first choice of the use of university buses. The Vice President of Operations or his designee may authorize the use of university buses by other State agencies provided such are available and provided appropriate reimbursement arrangements have been completed.

Smoking is prohibited in university buses by state law.  The use of alcohol in or on university-owned or contracted buses is prohibited.

Pool Vehicles                     

University-owned vehicles are maintained for the purpose of providing transportation for official university business of faculty, administrators, graduate assistants, and operating staff. In accordance with monies budgeted by departments for automotive expense, department chairmen and heads are delegated the responsibility to approve requests by employees for the use of university-owned vehicles and to verify that the driver has a valid license.

An employee of Northern Illinois University is eligible to drive a university-owned vehicle if he/she is acting for or on behalf of the university and within the scope of his/her employment, while operating such a vehicle. An employee, for purposes of this policy, is defined as any individual who receives compensation from the university for services performed provided such compensation is taxable under either state or federal tax laws. Any individual whose only compensation is a scholarship or fellowship, or any individual who is an independent contractor and whose compensation is not subject to either state or federal tax, would not be considered an employee. A student-employee is eligible to drive a university-owned vehicle only within the scope of his/her student employment.

Other individuals are eligible to drive university-owned/leased vehicles on university business if they have the prior written permission of the president, the vice president of the respective division or their designee(s), and provided the operation or use of the university-owned vehicle is within the scope of such permission. NIU students may become eligible to operate university-owned vehicles with the completion of the “Student Vehicle Use Authorization” form. Completion of the form requires supplying detailed information of the proposed travel, the signature of the student, approval of the sponsoring department or organization, and approval by the respective vice president or designee. All student use of university vehicles, other than within the scope of student employment, requires the completion of this form.

As a result of heightened university safety concerns, as supported by a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Consumer Advisory (April 9, 2001), 15-passenger vans are no longer available for general university use.  This restriction on official use also extends to employee or departmental use and/or rental of passenger vans from private commercial agencies e.g., Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, etc., or from any other source, including donations or gift-in-kind.   It would also preclude the reimbursement for the use of an employee-owned 15-passenger van.

When employees use their own vehicles on university business, university insurance coverage stands in excess of and secondary to the employee's personal insurance coverage. The state cannot provide primary coverage for such use. Non-employees, using their own vehicles on university business, are not covered by university insurance.

All drivers of university vehicles must have a valid driver's license in their immediate possession. Licenses issued by other states are valid in Illinois. A non-resident from a foreign country is required to hold a valid driver's license issued by such foreign country.  All drivers of university vehicles are subject to review of their driver’s license record by Transportation Services and/or Risk Management.

Travel shall be by the most economical mode available, considering travel time, cost, and work requirements. It is anticipated that employees who have approval for out-of-state travel will make use of public conveyances. Because of the limited supply of vehicles within the motor pool and public relations considerations, their use for out-of-state travel, especially on trips involving considerable time and miles, is permitted only when circumstances can be justified. All out-of-state use of pool vehicles requires the approval of the president, the respective vice president, or his/her designee. In many instances it may be to the advantage of the university for the employee to fly and rent a vehicle upon arrival so as not to deny other faculty and staff the utilization of the university fleet.

State-owned automobiles are not available to employees who are personally being reimbursed for services being rendered. Example: it is anticipated that an employee who is being compensated for providing consulting services, or a speech at a conference, commencement, etc., will provide his own transportation for such purposes.

Faculty and staff of NIU are given first choice of the use of the university fleet. The Vice President of Operations or his designee may authorize the use of university vehicles by other state agencies provided such vehicles are available and provided appropriate reimbursement arrangements have been completed. Priority for the use of the passenger vans and mini-vans will be the same as for the use of the buses.

University employees requesting the use of a university-owned vehicle issued from the motor pool are required to submit a Transportation Request Form which will include the signature of the driver of the vehicle. The Transportation dispatcher will verify with the cost center manager if proper fiscal approval has been given before any action is taken on the request.

Smoking is prohibited in all university vehicles by State law.

NOTE:

Persons using their   own vehicle for business use should contact their personal insurance carrier   to ensure that proper coverage is being provided.

Departmental Assigned Vehicles

Under certain circumstances, university vehicles are assigned to a department and/or program. The assignments are made on a temporary basis dependent upon the availability of vehicles and the demand for fleet vehicle use. A periodic review is made of vehicles on assignment, and in the best interest of the university, it may be necessary to return vehicles to the Transportation Motor Pool.

The department or program desiring the assignment of a vehicle should submit a written request to the vice president of their respective division, and approval must be granted (in writing) by the vice president before Transportation Services is permitted to assign a vehicle.

Smoking is prohibited in all university vehicles by State law.

Airport Shuttle Service

Transportation to/from area airports may also be requested for official university business.  In accordance with monies budgeted by departments for automotive expense, department chairmen and heads are delegated the responsibility to approve requests by employees for this purpose.

This service is not available to employees who are personally being reimbursed for services being rendered. Example: it is anticipated that an employee who is being compensated for providing consulting services, or a speech at a conference, commencement, etc., will provide his own transportation for such purposes.

Requesting airport service:

  1. Request for airport transportation should be made at least two (2) weeks in advance of the proposed trip to be reasonably sure of obtaining a driver.
  2. Complete the transportation request form, have it signed by your department head, and send it to Transportation Services. These forms can be obtained from Central Stores at Materials Management at no charge.  The driver information should be left blank.  Next to the vehicle type indicated, please write “with driver”. 
  3. Attach a copy of the traveler’s itinerary with flight information.

Policy - Trailers

When a department acquires or disposes of a trailer, the department is responsible for notifying Transportation Services of such transactions.

  1. When a trailer acquisition is made, Transportation Services will need the following information from the department:  Copies of all paperwork for the trailer including the Certificate of Origin (current title if used), department name, location of the trailer, contact person and NIU property control tag number.
  2. If license plates are needed, Transportation Services will assist in obtaining the license plates from the Secretary of State’s Office. Trailers requiring license plates must have “U” plates.
  3. When a trailer is being disposed of, the department       must contact Transportation Services and return the license plates (if applicable). Transportation Services will secure the license plates until a time they are reassigned to another trailer.
  4. Annually, Transportation Services will contact those departments who are on record as having a trailer and will request that the contact person (1) verify that the department is still in possession of the trailer, (2) request the current location of the trailer, (3) supply the license plate number and (4) supply the NIU property control tag number. Any discrepancies will be addressed in order to rectify the situation.

Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking is prohibited in all university vehicles and buses. The use of alcohol in University-owned or contracted buses is prohibited.

How to Obtain a Pool Vehicle

  1. Request for transportation should be made at least two (2) weeks in advance of the proposed trip to be reasonably sure of obtaining a vehicle.
  2. Complete the transportation request form, have it signed by your department head, and send it to Transportation Services. These forms can be obtained from Central Stores at Materials Management at no charge
  3. The Transportation dispatcher will retain one copy of this Transportation Request Form in a permanent transportation file.
  4. The #1 copy will be returned to the applicant stating whether a vehicle is available on the date requested. The applicant will be given copy #4 (trip ticket) of the original request at the time of pickup to complete when vehicle is returned.
  5. If the request has been approved, only the driver authorized on the request form will be permitted to pick up the vehicle at the Transportation Office at the time and date requested. More than one driver may be listed on the transportation request form at the time the request is submitted to Transportation for processing. Any listed driver may pick up the requested vehicle. A vehicle will be reassigned if not picked up within two hours of the assigned time, and late cancellation charges will be assessed.
  6. The Transportation dispatcher will assign a vehicle only to a person indicated on the original request form. If a substitute driver is necessary, a new request form will be required and all of the above procedures will be followed before a vehicle is issued.
  7. If there is more than one vehicle involved, a request form with the driver's signature will be required for each vehicle requested. No more than one vehicle will be assigned to any one driver. If multiple vehicles are requested, multiple drivers and requests are required.
  8. Before the vehicle is issued, the driver must present a valid driver's license to the Transportation dispatcher. Transportation Services may review the driver’s record with the Office of the Secretary of State.
  9. The Transportation dispatcher will verify the signature on the license with that on the request form. The dispatcher will then complete the request as required and issue keys for the assigned vehicle.
  10. Departments having permanently assigned vehicles will be responsible for determining that the person obtaining the vehicle has a valid driver's license.  On an annual basis, departments with assigned vehicles will provide to Transportation Services a list of all potential drivers of said vehicles.  This list will include each individual’s name, driver’s license number, and expiration date of the license.  Failure to provide this information will result in the loss of university vehicle privileges for that individual and/or department.  Transportation Services may review the driver’s record with the Office of the Secretary of State.
  11. If a university vehicle is not available, the applicant should request approval from the department head for travel funds necessary to use personal car.

NOTE:

Students who are not employees requesting use   of university vehicles should refer to information and policies for pool vehicles.  

 When you return a vehicle

  1. The vehicle should be returned on or before the hour indicated on your "Request for Transportation." Failure to do so may prevent a fellow faculty or staff member from using the vehicle and may result in late return charge.
  2. Complete copy #4 (trip ticket) of the original request, making sure the name is signed. Report on copy #4 of the original request any malfunction of the vehicle. For example: Windshield wipers do not work, or brakes grab, or heater does not work.
  3. Leave the keys in the ignition and park vehicle at the gas pumps west of the garage when Transportation Services is open for business.
  4. If the transportation building is closed, place keys, trip ticket, and gasoline or service charge tickets in the Key Drop Box. Leave copy #4 of the original request, gasoline and service charge tickets on the front seat of the vehicle. The Key Drop Box is located on a light pole in the main parking lot, (Lot 25) across Stadium Drive, west of Transportation Services. Vehicles returned when Transportation is closed should be parked in this lot and should be locked.

How to Obtain Bus Transportation

  1. All requests for bus service from any segment of the university, paid through any fund source, must be sent to Transportation Services.  No fund source may directly contract with an external bus service.  The sole exception is group travel ground bus service in connection with air travel (this does not include ground transportation to or from any airport within 150 miles of DeKalb); i.e. a team flies to Buffalo and requires ground transportation at that location before flying back to the DeKalb area.  
  2. Request for transportation should be made at least two (2) weeks in advance of the proposed trip to be reasonably sure of obtaining a vehicle.
  3. Complete the transportation request form, have it signed by your department head, and send it to Transportation Services. These forms can be obtained from Central Stores at Materials Management at no charge.
  4. The Transportation dispatcher will retain one copy of this Transportation Request Form in a permanent transportation file. If a university bus is not available, the Transportation Office will obtain a contracted bus, provided a contracted bus is available. Usually the cost will be greater for a contracted bus.
  5. Long distances have priority for university buses. Transportation Services reserves the right to make last-minute changes--from the use of a university bus to a contracted bus.
  6. Bus and driver will be at assigned starting point, as requested by applicant, 15 minutes before time of departure. Transportation Services reserves the right to change a requested location as safety or logistics demand.
  7. At completion of trip, bus driver will fill out #4 copy of the original request.

Vehicle Rates

Buses

The greater of the following rates will be charged:

  1. $3.39 per mile, or
  2. $55.00 per hour
  3. For the first three (3) hours, there is a minimum charge of $180.00 for any bus use.

In addition to the above rates, any costs for overtime, meals, lodging, tolls, and parking fees will be billed to the customer. Overnight bus trips will be charged on an actual-use basis. On a trip of more than one (1) night away from DeKalb, the charge will be for ten (10) hours or actual use, whichever is greater, for each day of "layover."

Pool Vehicles

  1.  Sedans -- the greater of the following rates will be charged:
    1. $.37 per mile, or
    2. a minimum of $16.00 for the first two hours plus $1.60 per hour thereafter.
  2.  Mini-vans -- the greater of the following rates will be charged:
    1. $.47 per mile, or
    2. a minimum of $22.00 for the first two hours plus $2.25 per hour thereafter.
  3.  Eight-Passenger Vans – the greater of the following rates will be charged:
    1. $.51 per mile, or
    2. a minimum of $25.00 for the first two hours, plus $3.50 per hour thereafter
  4.  Passenger vans driven by Transportation Personnel Only -- the greater of the following rates will be charged:
    1. $.51 per mile, or
    2. a minimum of $25.00 for the first two hours, plus $3.50 per hour thereafter. Hourly charges for a driver = $28.00 per hour and additional costs as applicable to the trip.
  5.  Trucks --  University departments and sponsored organizations may under special circumstances use university-owned trucks. Generally, university-owned trucks are on assignment and, therefore, are not normally available for leasing through Transportation Services. The rates for a light truck are the greater of the following:  Light truck (1/2 ton or less)  $.51 per mile, or  A minimum of $25.00 for the first two hours, plus $3.50 per hour thereafter Rental -- The Transportation Office can obtain rental trucks of various sizes through a local truck rental agency. Call the Transportation Office for further details. Rental rates, plus fuel cost, will be assessed for the use of a rental truck
  6. If a driver is furnished by Transportation Services for a sedan, mini-van, carryall, van, or truck, an additional charge of $28.00 per hour, plus meals, lodging, tolls, and parking, if applicable, will be billed to the customer.

Departmental Assigned Vehicles

In addition to the charges listed below for each vehicle type, assigned vehicles are assessed a monthly fee equal to the pro-rated monthly cost of a blue parking permit, unless the user department provides proof of purchase of a reserved parking space.

  1. Sedans, mini-vans, and passenger vans -- four model years or newer at the beginning of the fiscal year:
    1. Sedans--$375.00 per month or $.37 per mile, whichever is greater.
    2. Mini-vans--$475.00 per month or $.47 per mile, whichever is greater.
  2.  Sedans, mini-vans and passenger vans--five model years or older at the beginning of the fiscal year.
    1. Sedans--$250.00 per month or $.37 per mile, whichever is greater.
    2. Mini-vans--$280.00 per month or $.47 per mile, whichever is greater.

NOTE:

If the mileage exceeds the monthly charge shown in 1   and 2 above, the higher charge will be assessed. Example: A new sedan is   driven 1,500 miles in one month 1,500 x .37¢ = $555.00. This rate will be   charged to the user as it is higher than the monthly rate of $375.00.

3.  Light trucks (1/2 ton and less) -- $300.00 per month, plus .51 cents per mile over 280 miles per month, with additional charges for additional equipment.Heavy trucks (more than 1/2 ton) -- Monthly charges determined on a case by case basis.

4.  Police Squad Truck/SUV --$.66 per mile, Hybrid SUV -- $.51per mile, Toyota Prius Squad - $.44 cents per mile.

Airport Shuttle Service

All rates are based on the standard pool vehicle rates for that classification plus a driver fee of $28/hour and any tolls or miscellaneous expenses.

  1.  Sedans -- the greater of the following rates will be charged:
    1.  $.37 per mile, or
    2.  a minimum of $16.00 for the first two hours plus $1.60 per hour thereafter.
  2.   Mini-vans -- the greater of the following rates will be charged:
    1.  $.47 per mile, or
    2.  a minimum of $22.00 for the first two hours plus $2.25 per hour thereafter.
  3.   Eight-Passenger Vans – the greater of the following rates will be charged:
    1.  $.51 per mile, or
    2.  a minimum of $25.00 for the first two hours, plus $3.50 per hour thereafter

Cancellation Fees

A cancellation fee, equal to the minimum charge for the requested vehicle type, will be charged to a department or organization if a previously requested and approved vehicle request is canceled after the following deadlines:

Cancellation Deadline

Late
  Cancellation Fees

Sedans

4:30 p.m., the   business day before the trip

Equal to minimum charge

Mini-vans

4:30 p.m., the second   business day before the trip

Equal to minimum charge

Vans

4:30 p.m., the second   business day before the trip

Equal to minimum charge

Buses

48 hours before the   trip

Equal to minimum charge

Airport Shuttle Service

48 hours prior to   departure to the airport

Equal to minimum charge plus a two (2) hour minimum driver fee

 

A vehicle not picked up within two hours of the assigned time will be cancelled and charged late cancellation fees.

 Expenses Incurred While Driving a University Vehicle

  1. When a university vehicle is outside of the DeKalb area and it is impossible to obtain the necessary gasoline, oil, and services at the university garage, the driver should use the Wright Express credit cards.
    1. A Wright Express Vehicle Equipment Credit Card is provided with each vehicle.
    2. Retain all oil company charge tickets and turn them in to the Transportation Office with the #4 copy of the Request for Transportation upon completion of your trip.
    3. On those rare occasions when it is necessary to purchase gasoline with cash, a receipt should be obtained at the time of purchase and submitted for reimbursement at the time the vehicle is returned to Transportation. Transportation departmental funds will be the source of the reimbursement. This type of reimbursement should not be included on your travel voucher.
  2.  If a university automobile develops mechanical trouble while on an out-of-town trip, the following procedures should be followed:
    1. If the repairs are under $100.00 after notifying transportation, the driver may arrange to have the repair made. The driver should use the Wright Express Credit Card whenever possible. If it becomes necessary to use an alternative form of payment, a receipt should be obtained at the time of service and submitted for reimbursement when the vehicle is returned to Transportation.
    2. If the repairs are $100.00 or more, the driver should telephone Transportation Services, (800) 955-3688, for instructions. For after-hours service, press #0 to be connected to University Police, who will contact appropriate staff.

How to Report an Accident

All accidents, whether or not property damage or injury occurs, must be reported to Transportation Services as well as the appropriate police agency. In addition, the driver must complete an accident report in the Transportation Services office by Noon of the first business day following the accident. Illinois law requires every driver of a motor vehicle in Illinois involved in an accident resulting in personal injury, death, or property damage of $250.00 or more to forward a written report to the State office within 24 hours in cases of personal injury or death, and within five days if there is only property damage of $250.00 or more. When an accident occurs outside the State of Illinois, the driver must comply with the requirements of that State.   Failure to comply with the accident reporting requirements can result in insurance coverage being declined and all financial liabilities for personal injuries and property damage being the responsibility of the vehicle driver.