Traveling from college to home is a challenge for many college students. Tamanna Ahmad was in the same position when she was a college student at Mount Holyoke in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Whenever she wanted to go back home to Boston, her only option was a long bus ride and she wanted a faster, affordable alternative. She launched VanGo.
VanGO is an easy and affordable transportation service, running Thursdays through Sundays, bringing people to and from Boston. Focusing primarily on the five colleges in western Massachusetts, customers book their rides online and on the scheduled date and time are at the designated location for pick up. Rates are between $18-$25 per person and additional charges may apply for transportation to their airport and oversized luggage.
Starting it all on her own with her own funds, Ahmad started VanGO while she was in graduate school, using rental cars and charging students a small amount to ride to Boston from their college. As it grew in popularity, it expanded.
VanGO is not only an easy transportation service but it also has the goal of providing more jobs for women.
“The reason I went to business school at all is because I wanted to be able to create businesses and services that would help people. I want to be able to provide jobs for people who really need the work, especially women and the mentally disabled,” Ahmad said, expressing her desire to help the unemployed.
Ahmad understands how hard it is to find a job in today’s economy, especially when there are others factors that are making it even more difficult, such as being a single mother. In this situation VanGO would allow a single mother to reserve a seat in the car for her child and bring them to their job and on the trips, so that they do not have to worry about paying for some type of childcare.
Being not only a female but also a Muslim, Ahmad understands the challenge of running a company as a minority, especially since the transportation industry is typically male-dominated. However, Ahmad fights against this “disadvantage,” and refuses to let it stop her from success.
“As women particularly, it’s cliché to say don’t give up, but it really is true. Just hang in there, there is no difference between you or anyone else,” Ahmad said.
VanGO is currently targeting their marketing to college students but the company is also available for people who live in the area. In addition to that, VanGo is hoping to expand and not only help college students and the people of the western Massachusetts area, but also farmers looking to take their products to Boston.
Evelyn Fiske is a junior, English major, at Western New England University. She loves tackling each day with a positive attitude and lots of coffee. Evelyn hopes to one day teach English in another country, with her biggest goal being to positively effect everyone she meets.