Technology has always aided in making a lot of processes better. One of the latest technology manifestations that have impacted almost every activity of our lives is the combination of smartphones and on-demand applications. The industry that kick-started the on-demand application fever is still among the most lucrative business segments.
The Onset of On-Demand
The on-demand revolution can be traced back to 2009 when Uber started its operations in the city of San Francisco. It combined the advantages brought about by GPS, mapping, and navigation, helping cabs reach the exact location of the user. It redefined how transportation was looked at because it meant that no longer were cumbersome coordination procedures needed to find the user’s precise location. It also said that you do not have to look at a cab to ride on it necessarily.
It has become so much of a lifestyle change that almost every on-demand app is referred to as an Uber for that particular industry. Today, nobody sees, “let’s call a cab!”… They only say, “let’s book an Uber!”
The Growth Rate & Growth Factors
The growth of taxi apps like Uber is fueled by the fact that cities are growing more prominent and, at the same time, becoming more congested. The hassle involved in maintaining a car, encountering parking difficulties, fuel expenses, and space has deterred a lot of people from owning a car. It is evident in the number of people applying for driving licenses in the United States witnessing a sharp decline. At the same time, the number of adults who used taxi applications in the United States has grown from 15% in 2015 to 36% in 2018-a a lear indicator of the tilt in the scales favoring not owning cars but using taxi app services.
While the industry was steadily growing and when no one expected, the coronavirus crisis impacted the cab industry along with many other industries, plummeting the revenues from about US$302 million down to US$192 million from 2019 to 2020. It is expected that it would be another three years before the industry can recuperate from these losses. However, once the industry has recuperated, there’s no looking back. To put it crisply, the industry has fallen back by a few years, and it only means that the time is ripe for new players to explore this market that is white and open. The fact that a lot of traditional taxi companies have started to design the digital avatar is a resounding testimony to the growing popularity of app-based taxi services.
The Global Market
The global market is going to be dominated by China due to its population and rapidly changing urban landscape, and its market is valued at about $55.56 million. Cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou are proper business hotspots in China and the presence of. Following closely is the United States of America, with about $41.6 million of market value. India might be a bit distant but still stands at a powerful third place of $26.15 million. The United Kingdom and Russia hover around a market value of about $6.8 million.
Breaking Down the Process
To understand the relevance of the features of a taxi booking app like Uber, it is important to understand the entire process of the service being delivered at a very granular level. We have broken down the process for you.
The user opens the taxi booking app and enters the location where they need to be picked up and the destination they need to be dropped. There are facilities in certain applications where customers can also request for additional services.
As soon as the customer confirms their pick up and drop locations, the information is sent to the drivers in the vicinity. The drivers need to fall into certain criteria to be able to offer that right for the customer. They should be available in the nearest possible location, so the customer gets picked up in the shortest possible time. There are factors like the driver’s home location, their hours of availability, and a few other factors that are taken into consideration when matching a ride request with a driver.
Once the matching is confirmed, the details of the customer or sent to the driver, and the detail also flows in the other direction. The driver can either navigate to the exact location of the customer being assisted by the GPS and mapping systems. Alternatively, the driver can also call the customer and get information about the pickup location. Once the driver starts moving to watch the customer location, the customer gets to see the real-time moment of the driver on their app interface on a map. If a driver cancels the customer request, the request is, in most cases, automatically pass down to another driver in the vicinity.
As soon as the driver reaches the user’s exact location, the user can board the cab. The system also tracks the user’s time to reach the cab, and if it exceeds a specific stretch of time, waiting charges are levied on the user.
The driver initiates the ride using their app, and the customer gets a notification on the initiation. The customer can see the cab’s moment on the mapping interface, giving them a constant update on whether or not the driver is moving in the right direction. The driver can also use the navigation assistance on the app to reach the exact destination requested by the customer.
Immediately after the customer reaches their destination, the driver signals the ride’s completion using their app. Based on absolute quantities like the distance of the ride and a few abstract quantities like the intensity of traffic and the demand, the ride’s cost is calculated. The customer, in most cases, makes a payment using digital methods. In a few rare instances, the customer can also make a payment using cash.
Both the customer and the driver get an opportunity to greet each other based on their behavior. This review and rating system makes the entire app-based taxi space democratic and balanced between customers and users. It is to be understood that both the riders and the drivers are customers for an app like Uber, and both of them need to be treated with the same degree of regard and respect.
Putting together an app like Uber
For an end-user, the process may seem simple: they just pick out the smartphone, open an app, enter the location, and request a cab, and bingo… A cab appears at the doorstep within a few minutes. Most people, however, fail to understand that an Uber-like app is a grand culmination of an intuitive front end, a robust and powerful backend, and a lot of business parameters that go into building the app and the process.
It is also to be ensured that your taxi booking app like Uber is available at least on the two biggest operating systems for mobiles – Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
Features of a taxi booking app like Uber
There are a few features that need to be put in place for the app’s proper functioning.
Both the users and the drivers should be able to quickly and easily register for the services. They should be able to use legacy login credentials like Google and Facebook. For the drivers, there is a requirement for the profiles to be verified for their authenticity. Even this process needs to be made simple and straightforward.
The users and the drivers should be able to edit their profiles in terms of information like name, photographs, phone number, and email. The driver can also include information like a copy of the driving license, vehicle details, and other factors that might increase their credibility. The user profile should contain information like frequent pickup and drop locations, and should also have a default payment system. The profile should also have complete information on the history of all the rides taken and offered by the customer and the driver, in that order.
The matching system is the core engine of Uber that enables passengers and drivers to connect. Generally, Uber shows the availability of a ride for up to eight drivers nearby. The driver gets 15 seconds to either accept or reject the request, after which it will be passed on to the next driver. There are a few taxi applications that give a facility to choose drivers manually. All Uber does not have this option, and this could be a great idea to consider implementing in your taxi app. The driver can also set filters and restrictions for their drop locations. For example, a driver in a certain area might have some commitment to another place. To ensure that they are closer to their intended location, they can set on the app to accept rides only for that particular location or at least in that direction.
The navigation is probably the backbone of not just taxi applications but almost every other on-demand app. The navigation takes care of not only to pinpoint the user’s exact location but also to guide the drivers in the most optimized route to reach that place. Considering factors like traffic and distance, the navigation engine can also compute the time it would take for the cab to reach the user.
Push notifications help grab the immediate attention of customers. These notifications should be used to the maximum advantage but not spam to users. Important events like the acceptance of a ride request by the driver and the arrival of the driver close do your pick up location can be notified. The notification does not have to be confined to the app, and it can even be sent across by SMS using tools like Twilio.
The customers should be able to chat with the driver without exiting your taxi booking app. They should also be able to make calls right within your app, so it is traceable and accountable. The chat option comes in handy, especially when employing drivers who might be differently-abled and might have difficulty hearing.
One of the factors that contribute to the popularity of apps like Uber is transparency. Even before the ride is started, customers get to know the price of the ride. This is an important factor that determines the marketability of your app. Your app should have the right computational capability to take into consideration all the factors that might affect the cost before displaying the final price on the app.
Today, the payments need to be made digitally. Your taxi booking app needs to be integrated with a payment services provider that can handle all types of payment instruments, including but not limited to debit cards, credit cards, Internet banking, and wallets. In the near future, your app should also be able to, if legally acceptable, even accommodate cryptocurrency. In some countries like India, cash payments should not be, or rather cannot be completely eliminated.
One of the most trivial yet the most important factors that determine the success of your app is the review and rating system. The review and rating should not be confined to just a star’s best rating system but should also have space for accommodating text content that will qualify the given rating.
We have already discussed that the best time for launching your cab business through the mobile app is right now. If you would like to build an app-based cab booking business, you will need to invest in developing a taxi app like Uber. Instead of building the app from scratch, you can consider using white label clone of Uber. These white label salons are extremely customizable and will not have bugs that will interfere with the app’s basic functionality. Therefore, you can launch your app like Uber in the shortest possible time, ensuring profit and success.