COVID-19 and the response to it potentially has changed the landscape of employment, work and commute for most Middle Tennessee employers and employees for the next decade.

As the pandemic spread, beginning in early spring, some companies, both large and small, public and private, closed their offices and sent employees home to work remotely to slow the spread of the virus. Others who employed essential workers reconfigured their work environments and developed guidelines designed to safely protect their employees and customers.

And most everyone — business and employee — was required to pivot their transportation strategy.

VanStar’s pivot
VanStar staff quickly pivoted, as well, for our commuting customers. After all, our mission is to provide Middle Tennessee commuters with effective alternatives to single person occupied vehicles. Our staff offered understanding and flexibility as we worked through some of the issues of this challenging time.

For example, vanpools who were uncertain about when, or if, they would return to work were permitted to park the VanStar vehicle. All expenses associated with the vanpool were suspended.

Other vanpools with essential workers who were required to work onsite continued to operate, but with new safety measures initiated by VanStar. We provided additional vehicles, allowing vanpool members to decrease their numbers per vehicle so they could spread out and social distance within the vans.

VanStar staff, right along with everyone else in Middle Tennessee, was focused on being lean, quick responders and sensitive to whatever the situation required for our vanpool commuters.

The rise of vanpools
As we move toward the end of this strange, challenging year, VanStar vanpooling is emerging as a strong choice for 2021 commute alternatives, particularly as COVID-19 restrictions ease and Middle Tennessee interstates once again become clogged with employees returning to onsite work.

The ability to combine the efficiencies of public transit — saving money on gas, maintenance, wear and tear — while controlling the environment of the public transit vehicle will prove to be appealing to many employers and employees.

With the health and safety of our customers at the forefront, commuting the VanStar way gives us the opportunity to sanitize the smaller vehicle effectively, self-monitor the health of the five to 10 participants within the vanpool and more easily contact trace within the commute group, if necessary.

The protected and controlled vanpool group has a greater chance to create a healthy bubble within itself while continuing to take advantage of public transit, and all it has to offer, during 2021.

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