Transportation Services

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Transportation Services

Transportation Services at Northern Illinois University is responsible for providing the care, maintenance and dispatch of the Universities fleet of about 250 vehicles. These vehicles range from the Department of Public Safety's Prisuses to small trucks/cargo vans for the trades, to coach buses and everything in between. The coach buses are availible to support academic needs (class trips, attend seminars etc.) athletic teams and student groups. Pool vehicles are also available for faculty, staff and students conducting official University business.

POLICIES and PROCEDURES:

I. Policy - 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.  For non-academic related trips, 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:

A. 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.

B. 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.

C. For use by academic departments for educationally-related purposes.

D. For use directly related to recognized intercollegiate activities. Involved herein is transportation for athletic teams and their coaches. Intercollegiate athletics bears expenses herein.

E. 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.

F. 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 Executive Vice President, Business and Finance, and Chief 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.

II. Policy - Other Vehicles

University-owned automobiles 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. Generally speaking, 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. Employees flying from O'Hare, Midway, or Rockford airport are encouraged to utilize rental cars or limousine service so as not to deny other employees the use of the university fleet. Limousine service to the airports is available through the Transportation Office. (Contact Transportation Office for further information.)

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 Executive Vice President, Business and Finance, and Chief 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.

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 the Transportation Department is permitted to assign a vehicle.

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 by signature card if proper fiscal approval has been given before any action is taken on the request.

NOTE:

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

Smoking is prohibited in all University vehicles by State law.