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The Feds Embrace the Sharing Economy

A while back, we posted about corporate travel and the sharing economy, noting the burgeoning acceptance of ride-sharing expenses by corporate America. Despite ongoing criticism and litigation, the sharing economy continues to grow, and now it appears even the federal government embracing sharing.

Representative Seth Moulton, (D – Mass) recently introduced the Modernizing Government Travel Act, which would require the General Services Administration to issue regulations within 90 days of enactment requiring federal employees be reimbursed for their business-related use of ride sharing services, including bicycle sharing through commercial bicycle-sharing companies. Although some federal employees have been able to seek reimbursement for sharing services, not all agencies reimbursed employees for ride-sharing services. With an estimated 1.4 million civilian federal employees in 2017, the move will likely result in significant cost reductions. 

The bill only covers ride-sharing services. For now, accommodation sharing services such as Airbnb are not widely used, as many agencies require that traveling federal employees select hotels off approved lists and provide itemized receipts for all business accommodation expenses. 

The ride-sharing bill, which is likely to be signed by the President,  also requires the GSA to provide annual reports to Congress regarding employee use of ride sharing services. This is yet another sign of the growing popularity of the sharing economy and its integration into the daily lives of a growing number of people across the country and around the world.

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