VanStar Takes the Stress, Cost Out of Commuting to Work

Sarah Ricciardi


Sarah Ricciardi


Mar 27, 2024

VanStar Takes the Stress, Cost Out of Commuting to Work

Happy and healthy. Calm and collected. Two phrases not typically associated with a work commute to the Nashville area.

There is an alternative, though.

The Transportation Management Association (TMA) is a non-profit program driven by service that has been redefining employee drive time for over 30 years through their VanStar program. The TMA Group customizes transportation solutions for commuters in Robertson, Sumner, and 12 other Middle Tennessee counties.

By bringing together coworkers residing in the same locale and having similar work schedules, VanStar “is the glue of security for communities, partnering with employers and employees,” says TMA Business Development Director Stephanie Tillman. “Employees arrive at work on time, rested and relaxed.”

Human Resource departments often consider this federally funded program an employee benefit, enjoying the expansiveness of this free service. The TMA coordinates every step from a program’s conception and beyond its execution — registration, training, van delivery, as well as pickup and drop-off times.

Stephanie says the TMA makes it easy for employers and employees to say ‘Yes!’ Once they do, a customized van pool can be up and running in as little as three weeks. When the commuting experience offers less stress and more security, the workday starts stronger, and productivity thrives.

No more late arrivals or last-minute Uber reservations means more of their paycheck left in employees’ pockets. The average worker spends about $4,000 in transportation-related costs annually, according to the TMA.

“When we can take that cost away and help people with what turns out to be an incredibly positive experience, it truly impacts the work culture,” Stephanie explains.

Employers are recruiting further away from their work sites, post-2020. People moving from cities with abundant public transportation services often find Nashville’s fewer offerings a hinderance.

“There’s a real connection between recruitment and retention of employees,” says Stephanie. “It’s such a win for the employer because the employees are so appreciative of the transportation benefit.”

The vanpool often becomes a family as they spend their commute time together, many times staying together 10-15 years. Happy employees have staying power. Connected employees create true teams.

“They transfer that relationship from the van into the workplace,” Stephanie stresses.

Whether an individual is reentering the workforce, embarking on a new skill set, saving for their child’s college fund, or wanting to decrease pollutants pumping the skyline, VanStar offers a solution.

One van rider was even able to work his way off government assistance.

“The sense of pride in showing his first paycheck to his family was life changing,” shares Stephanie.

Indeed, this program gives our Middle Tennessee communities more than transportation; VanStar gives access to choices. No longer bound by town limits or vehicle accessibility, an individual is armed with the ability to choose. That’s a powerful, positive impact.

Choose to support this program by sharing this article. For more information about the Transportation Management Association, visit

Stephanie Tillman, Business Development Director for the Transportation Management Association

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