IN major cities around the world, taxis are an integral. and indispensable component of the transportation mix. To make them a better part, Genera[ Motors launched Chevrolet University in Bogota last year.
A corporate social responsibility initiative of the automaker's Chevrolet Foundation, the education program is free and available to any taxi driver, regardless of the brand of vehicle that he may drive. The courses--on safety, maintenance, English (to serve the growing numbers of foreign business travelers and tourists) and small-business management, like budgeting--were developed by GM in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service (SENA).
SENA instructors teach the courses, said Marco Vintimilla, marketing manager for GM Colmotores in Colombia. "They have the expertise to connect the pedalogical experience with the experiences of the cab d rivers."
The program consists of five hours of classes one day a week, taken over four to six months, a schedule designed for drivers to attend on the day their vehicles are not allowed to circulate. Retention rates have been high--only 13 percent of enrollees have dropped out, Vintimilla said. To date, Chevrolet University has graduated 1,300 drivers.
GM has added a second education center in Bogota to make it easier for more taxi drivers to attend, said Vintimilla, whose goal is to educate and...