Due to the tremendous increase in traffic nowadays, people have started to detest owning cars or at the very least driving those through traffic filled roads in cities. So a lot of taxi services have started to boom in big cities. The rush in the roads causes the people to undergo a lot of stress and driving a car has become more of a luxury than a necessity. This has led to the rise of the on-demand taxi booking applications. People find it very easy to find a taxi from where ever they are and do not have to worry about driving in stressful traffic or park in jam-packed spaces. They can just ride the taxi and get down at the designated location without any hassle. They can also forget the maintenance and repair cost required for owning a car. Many apps like Uber, lyft; Ola, etc. have gained a lot of popularity among the people living in cities.
Thus there is no better time for an entrepreneur with ideas of creating an application for taxi or car rental services than now. The application for an on the going taxi or car rental service is a billion dollar idea, creating and introducing one now can earn lots of income for the entrepreneur. But there is a great of research that is required before such an app is to be made. This research is to be done keeping in mind the cost of development, features of the application, and different modules of the application and overall mentality of the users that the application is targeted for. Only with proper research, the application can stay on top and can maintain a stable amount of users which in turn will dictate the profit made through the application.
So in this article, the discussion will mainly be on how to create an application that can be popular in taxi booking services like Uber and other few companies which stay on the top of the market.
Before we talk about the features and functionalities required for a taxi booking application, let us see a brief introduction to taxi booking apps.
Need for developing a taxi booking application
For any successful taxi based business person, the development of a mobile application for the service will let them gain a broader audience thus generating more income. There are a number of countries where taxi services through mobile applications have changed the scope of the business by attracting people through better engagement and retention rates to the service. So for any entrepreneur with a budding idea of creating a mobile application for taxi services, the income generated by charging a commission from the ride fare can be better than maintaining an offline taxi service.
Types of taxi booking services
There are two types of taxi services which are distinguished based on whether the taxi service is established or the person is new to the taxi service business
1. Taxi service application –
When the owner of an established taxi booking company who owns a lot of cars and drivers want to broaden the customer pool which is received by the company, a mobile application for the company would give better income in the form of newer clients. This means that the name of the company will help in bringing more customers to the application. The customers can book a ride like before but with easier access through a mobile interface which provides a better user experience. Due to the existent fleet of cars at the disposal, the company can start with the application without anything else to think about. The taxi drivers also get comfortable due to the application as the pickup and drop locations are already entered in the application. The customers can also get a taxi anytime through the app.
2. Independent taxi booking app service –
For a newcomer into the business of a taxi service, there is no fleet of cars that exist. So the person or entrepreneur should create an application that can manage a fleet of taxi drivers and also get in partnership with taxi drivers to provide the service. This application can be quite simple like a system where a lot of cab services can integrate and the user can find available cab services in the vicinity and pick one based on the prices and the other conditions. Only the contact details of the company and the prices can be mentioned based on the starting and end points of the journey. And for a complex application like Ube, the entrepreneur should put in a lot of initial money for buying servers to manage the application and also in the front end for partnering with existing taxi drivers. So this app will consist of two or three segments. One for the drivers, one for the users and the admin section if required. Such a complex application might not generate much money initially but in the long run, it will be more profitable.
How does such an app work?
The GPS functionality in the mobile phone of the user trying to book a cab gives the exact location of the user. With this, the system will search for drivers who are within a particular distance from the customer. This distance is predetermined by the administrator of the application. The user is also notified of the time the cab will take to reach them in addition to the exact location of the driver in real time. But for this to work, the application server must have the exact location of the cabs at all times. This is done by refreshing the location information on a real-time basis to the server which then finds the cab when requested by the customer
How does a taxi booking companies earn money?
These taxi booking apps like Uber, Ola, have two means to obtain a good income for the services they provide. The first one being the commission they get for each ride a customer takes in a taxi booked through the app. This is usually around 15 – 30 percent of the ride fare and varies from application to application and also based on the type of car or service. The other means is the promotional and ads segment of the application. They get money by partnering with other companies for displaying their ads on the mobile application and also for partnerships with payment partners that the application uses. The users also get discounts or cash back by using these payment methods which attracts more income for the taxi service application.
So with some idea of a taxi booking services application, let us now talk about the features the application must have.
The application will require three main segments namely the user segment, driver segment, and the admin segment. Let us discuss in detail about the different segments and their functionalities.
1.User section –
The customers in need of a cab currently or need it after some time can book a cab or schedule it for later in this section. It also has many other functionalities to make the user experience as good as possible. A few of the must-have functionalities and tools of this segment are mentioned below
2.Registration module –
Any app has a user login to help in making the process of using it or personalizing it faster. So a taxi booking app should have an easy user login process by integrating with Google or any social media platforms. The app can also take a mobile number and confirm the user immediately by using a simple OTP verification. The registration and login are done to save addresses or fast pick from stored places, etc.
3. Home Screen –
The opening screen or home screen of the app should be simple and elegant in portraying the list of services available. Using a complex and sophisticated layout on the home screen might confuse the users and become a big turn off for the application. A quick display of the different types of cabs available with the other functionalities that are required within a swipe of the finger is the preferred layout for the homepage. The home screen mainly decides and few other things decide the retention rate of the users so it is very important to pay extra attention to its design.
4. Requesting a ride –
The user should be able to pick from the different taxi services available and the module should link to the particular type requested and ask for a pickup and drop off point which the users can select from a list of already saved addresses or manually by entering the address. This module is the connecting module between the searching screen and the home page and should be easily reverted back to either of the two in a moments notice. The different types of cabs can be listed in a slide module to provide easy access to the users. The requesting module must provide an approximate estimate of the ride fare to the user to facilitate the driver and the customer, although the actual fare might vary a little based on the route followed by the driver, traffic patterns, weather, and various other reasons. The change in the ride fare will be close to the estimate as the servers take into account all these factors before estimating.
5. Ride conformation –
After receiving the request for a ride by a customer, the servers search for a cab that is free in the vicinity of the customer and books it. The driver gets notified of the customer location based on the GPS location of the customer or by the pickup point specified by the customer. The customer also gets the details of the cab and the contact number of the driver with a real-time location of the driver and the estimated arrival time to the specified point. The customer can even add a few stops in between the ride through the app. The customer will have to pay the additional waiting charges for the trip. The provision for canceling the cab after confirmation is also available to the customer and there might be some charges that the customer has to bear sometimes.
A. Surge prices –
Due to heavy rains or due to heavy traffic the fare of the cab might fluctuate and sometimes surge prices are levied on the fare. This can also be due to the lesser number of taxis available than the customer requests in the vicinity. Late night rides or early morning rides can also face the same situation but the customers are notified of the surge in prices before the ride confirmation in such a situation.
B. SOS panic button –
The customer also has a provisional SOS button that when clicked contacts the number saved in trusted people list of the application for any kind of help. This provision is for any kind of medical emergency or other reasons.
6. Payment –
This is the most important module the customer has to access and the application should have links with all kinds of payment platforms that are available in the market to provide ease of payment. The administrator should integrate the app with all the modes of payment so the customer can feel comfortable to pay. The different online payment options allow the customer to enjoy discounts or cash back in the cab fare in case of promotional offers from the payment gateways.
7. Reviews and rating –
The customer must have a rating module that is displayed after each ride so that the customers can review or rate their cab experience. They can rate the cab ride based on the arrival time, driver behavior, arrival time, driver’s knowledge of the route, etc. so the company can keep track of the quality of the drivers and cab experience of the customers.
8.Driver module –
This module is for the cab drivers where they can manage the incoming cab requests and use the other functionalities of the app. The features and functionalities that the driver module should contain are mentioned below.
1.Registration and login –
The driver first has to submit a copy of the vehicle registration and their driver’s license to register to the application. The cab driver will then receive credentials from the application administrator that is used to login into the application. This is done to keep the cab driver details confidential and the processes like payment to the taxi driver, tracking the driver, etc. can be made easier this way.
The driver will be on idle until a rider is scheduled for the cab with after a request. The driver will then receive a notification for the ride request and he or she can accept the request or reject it in case of any problems with the vehicle. The driver will receive the details of the customer like the contact number, name and the location of the customer from the GPS data or the pickup location fixed by the customer. After picking up the customer the details of the drop off point is notified to the cab driver.
3. Start and complete the ride –
After picking up the customer, the driver has to drive the customer to the marked location and drop the customer. The customer can then pay the driver the amount that is specified by the application.
After completion of the ride, the customer can pay the driver through cash or the customer can also pay through online modes of payment or through other electronic wallets through the app. In the case of online payment modes, the driver will get the amount displayed on the app to the in-app wallet which they can later transfer to the bank account or by linking the bank account to the app and get paid to it directly. The payment received by the driver is less than the fare amount as the commission for the fare will be deducted before paying to the driver in case of online payments. If the customer paid by cash, the commission for that fare will be deducted when the driver receives online payment from future customers.
5. Integrated ride reports –
The driver can get detailed details of each ride completed by them or the integrated earning per day or per week or per month based on their choice.
6. Feedback –
After the completion of each ride, the drivers can rate the customers like they are rated by their customers. This is done so that the application system can get a comparative customer behavior report and rating from the cab drivers.
9.Admin module –
This is where the administrator can monitor the application and also make changes to settings for altering the functionalities of the user and driver modules. A few important segments that are to be present in the admin module are specified below.
1. Manage drivers –
This is used to get an overall view of the drivers in a location selected by the administrator. They can select and view on a particular driver and also get a view of the driver details based on many factors like rating, number of rides, etc.
2. Manage users –
This segment is used to analyze the customer behavior based on various factors like a number of rides per week, the frequency of rides taken, pick up and drop off points to help in better management of the drivers for providing a better customer experience.
Surge prices – Local administrators can manage the surge pricing value that the customer has to pay extra in case of heavy traffic in the route or due to bad weather conditions.
1. Overall statistics –
The admin must also be able to get well-integrated statistics of the drivers, customers, number rides, revenue obtained, etc. This helps in better management of the application to produce more revenue.
2. Settings –
The admin can set the city limits that the drivers have to be within. In case the drop off point of pick up point is beyond the limits set by the admin, the ride will be considered as an out of station ride. They can also change the surge pricing based on conditions observed on a map overview of traffic patterns, etc.
3. Manage reviews –
The admin can manage the customers and drivers based on reviews that are provided in the app and remove drivers that do not have a good customer provided a rating.
1.Push notifications –
It is very integral to having this functionality for both drivers and passengers as it helps in keeping them informed about changes and acts as an integral part of communication.
2.Intelligent queuing algorithm –
This functionality is used in taxi service providers to distribute the jobs evenly between available drivers in a handy manner. The server manages the incoming requests for cab rides and allocates it to the drivers that are idle and can reach the customer within the 5-minute duration. In case of non-availability of drivers in the vicinity, cabs with a broader range are queued to pick up the customer.
It is one important feature that cab service applications nowadays must have as ride sharing or carpooling has gained popularity. The customer will be paired with 2 or 3 other customers that are from the vicinity or on the way and request a cab. The cab fare in such a case is shared between the customers and the user can travel at a cheaper cost.
This article gives in-depth data about the application features and tools that are required for creating and maintaining a b booking application like Uber. The aspects of the application design and business development for such an application are discussed clearly which when followed can lead to the long term success of the application. But the developers of the application must make sure that the application adopts the new features that are oncoming and can help in improving the application performance and help in providing better user experience.