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Thread: Federal Transit Benefit Bicycle Program

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    Default Federal Transit Benefit Bicycle Program

    Are any of you other Fed types using the Bicycle Commuter Subsidy? I currently get the mass transit subsidy as an emergency backup, but I've only used it maybe four days in the past year. From a pure money standpoint, the bicycle benefit is more advantageous ($240 versus ~$16). The thing that I'm not sure about is the administrative burden. My agency requires submitting a paper form with copies of receipts. The form also includes checkboxes with every single day of the year, in which I'd be required to check each day that I rode my bike to work (so ~220 check boxes after holidays and leave). I'm curious if other agencies have created as onerous a process and whether other folks have found it worthwhile.

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    Here are HHS' rules. CPTJohnC can chime in with details since he actually receives it. But the short answer appears to be no--your agency has created a new and exciting level of bureaucracy

    I should look into how much I actually drive. Especially with the fact I may be moving sometime in the next few months to a more metro-accessible location, it may actually be more cost effective to take the bike parking benefit and just pay $15/day for the few times a year I need to drive. Currently I'm keeping my parking spot on principle. It costs my agency $3,200/yr to give me car parking in the same secure garage they refuse to let me park my bike .

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    At my previous agency in Salt Lake City the few bucks you got from the bike subsidy weren't worth handing over the train pass. But there I could take my bike right on the train anytime, two bikes (often 4 or 5 in reality) per car on the metro trains and dedicated bike cars on the commuter trains. With sometimes significant snow and frequently terrible winter air quality I used the train regularly.

    I'm with FEMA here and just got the metro card when I started because I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. Haven't taken the metro to work yet since May 2016, so maybe I should look into the bike subsidy and see if that makes sense. I'll see if I can find their deal tomorrow.

    And, just because I never miss a chance to bash the metro. I think they would offer better service if they had to compete for riders, rather than relying on uncle Sam for subsidies. When I am benevolent dictator I will re-write the transit benefits. The taxpayers don't need to support someone who chooses to live in West Virginia and commute to the district.

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    HHS is way easier and I'd totally enroll if I got a voucher each month that could only be used at a bike shop.

    In addition to providing receipts and providing a log of days I commuted by bike, I also can only submit for reimbursement during the month of March and September which creates weird cycles for tracking.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    HHS is way easier and I'd totally enroll if I got a voucher each month that could only be used at a bike shop.

    In addition to providing receipts and providing a log of days I commuted by bike, I also can only submit for reimbursement during the month of March and September which creates weird cycles for tracking.


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    Well That's because no one is stupid enough to ride a bike from October through February.....

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    TwoWheelsDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    Are any of you other Fed types using the Bicycle Commuter Subsidy? I currently get the mass transit subsidy as an emergency backup, but I've only used it maybe four days in the past year. From a pure money standpoint, the bicycle benefit is more advantageous ($240 versus ~$16). The thing that I'm not sure about is the administrative burden. My agency requires submitting a paper form with copies of receipts. The form also includes checkboxes with every single day of the year, in which I'd be required to check each day that I rode my bike to work (so ~220 check boxes after holidays and leave). I'm curious if other agencies have created as onerous a process and whether other folks have found it worthwhile.
    My employer makes it equally as onerous so I don't even bother.

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    We looked seriously into the benefit. I know of nothing that requires the process your agency is requiring. Sounds like they created it themselves - most likely - and if they did, they may have violated the APA (created rules without notice and comment).

    That said, the bike benefit and the public transport benefit are mutually exclusive. We surveyed cyclists and at that time the number of cyclists who would go for the bike benefit (and give up the public transport benefit) was like 2. Given the small value of the benefit, and the small number of cyclists that would benefit from it, and given that our admin has worked hard in other areas (got us a Silver CABI membership) - we elected not to ask the admin to bother.

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    I looked into this when I worked at Fort Belvoir. I think the benefit was $20 per month, and it either wasn't offered at my agency (Army), or the documentation was too burdensome for such a small amount, so I didn't pursue it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcannon100 View Post
    We looked seriously into the benefit. I know of nothing that requires the process your agency is requiring. Sounds like they created it themselves - most likely - and if they did, they may have violated the APA (created rules without notice and comment).

    That said, the bike benefit and the public transport benefit are mutually exclusive. We surveyed cyclists and at that time the number of cyclists who would go for the bike benefit (and give up the public transport benefit) was like 2. Given the small value of the benefit, and the small number of cyclists that would benefit from it, and given that our admin has worked hard in other areas (got us a Silver CABI membership) - we elected not to ask the admin to bother.

    This. Even taking transit one day a week (you don't but I still do) (or you know, bailing to the bus at the Pentagon when a storm is coming) the transit benefit is worth more than the bike benefit.

    And yeah, we also got the CaBi memberships this year - not sure if they will keep that program though.

    Oh, and we get lots of bike racks in our secure garage.

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    I made the switch earlier this year, just to remove the possibility of taking Metro unless I really needed it. For (Labor), the sign up was pretty simple...just a form checking each month I opted to take this options. Days don't matter because it is one benefit or the other in a given month. The reimbursement​ is treated like a local travel voucher, so comes out of our travel budget instead of where the transit subsidy hits and requires receipts. And we are supposed to file the claim in January, which seems odd. We'll see how that goes.

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