Taxi and Car Booking Mobile App Development

In big cities with heavy traffic and few parking spots, it becomes exceedingly popular to rely on public transportation, taxis, and bikes for moving around. Services like Uber allow people to benefit from riding with comfort and yet eliminate all those parking and maintaining troubles. That is why taxi booking app development is the right choice for your transportation business.

You may use our calculalor to estimate the approximate cost of app development

Step-by-Step Guide for Taxi App Development

In case you consider a mobile solution development but wonder where to start in building a taxi app, just go on reading. We tried to clear up the issue for you.

Established business or startup

The type of mobile solution that will suit your needs depends on several factors. The first of them is whether you already have an established taxi business and simply want to complement it with the development of an app or you are a start-up planning to engage drivers.

Business Model

The next step is to define the business model to use: whether you set up a company that hires drivers and pays salary to them or you are an Uber-like business. The latter gets fees from drivers for the rides they realize from the common taxi orders base. The passengers then pay directly to the drivers.

The payment model depends on the business type chosen, and it may become a challenge to choose the right one.

Understanding the Market

It’s essential to know the market you are going to enter: whether you create a taxi app within your city or country and scale it later or you dare to craft a global service. Depending on your plan, choose a payment system, which works best for your chosen model. Each country has its preferred systems of payments, and global platforms have their peculiarities as well. The process of authorization can also be realized through a local payment system. All these factors influence the complexity of the integration process and sometimes testing, in the case of local systems especially. With this information in mind, your taxi app developers will be able to make more accurate estimations of the work and time required.

Financing

Every undertaking requires means to realize it, so you have to know where your financing will come from. It may be a loan, by your own means, or investments. The last variant is actually the best one for breaking any new grounds in business.

Marketing strategy

As soon as you know what product you are going to launch, you should consider a marketing strategy to use.

You should first know how to attract drivers and then how to market your solution, which passenger pains to address and solve to gain new and returning customers.

Possible scenarios

Before taxi mobile application development it’s important to consider all the user stories possible, figure out the ones that matter and disregard those less significant.

Then you can create a Minimal Viable Product (MVP), gather feedback, make the necessary improvements, and proceed iteratively to win the market as planned.

Challenges in Taxi Application Development Process

No development process is possible without difficulties to overcome. The key challenges we have faced as a taxi app development company are the following.

How to handle stops on a client’s request and forced by traffic

How to handle stops on the passenger request, in case he wants to smoke, for instance. On the one hand, the driver can indicate it. However, our client prefers to automate this option.

Then we face the problem that GPS does not stop when a car stops. It shows it as a movement around a certain point.

On the other hand, we have also to solve it for the traffic jams, so that the sensor does not consider moving slowly in a transportation congestion a stop and charge passenger for it.

Geolocation inaccuracy

Google Maps is not an accurate enough technology to integrate into taxi applications. Taxi drivers in Ukraine use City Guide since it provides more accurate coordinates, locations, and addresses. For other countries, their local systems of geolocation should also be considered and checked against Google Maps to choose what is best.

GPS Testing

Since the taxi service is about riding according to some route, testing should be done to make it accurate. You should either simulate it or take a real car and test it live. Ride cost calculation

It may be a tricky thing to automate ride cost calculation, especially when it’s long-distance, with multiple stops or to another city.

Car park description

Depending on the business model you choose, the driver app should be developed accordingly. If you have your own car park, there is no need to approve cars, but if you follow the Uber-like model, the vehicles should be checked, their photos provided and the drivers should deposit some money to their accounts.

How all these challenges are handled and what features are implemented in the solution created will finally determine the overall cost to develop a taxi app. Let’s further look at the taxi app features in more detail.

Necessary features for any taxi application

Taxi mobile app development should include the following features:

  1. API
  2. Registration
  3. Maps, GPS and routing
  4. Communication and notifications
  5. Payments
  6. Profiles and rating

Most companies prefer separate apps for drivers and passengers. So let’s see how to make a taxi booking app for both the taxi users and car drivers.

API

Don’t trick yourself into thinking that app development starts with the process of writing code for the actual app. It is only true for simple apps like calculator. When creating a service, apps are developed within it, thus they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

The development starts with describing all possible scenarios for client interaction with service. They are used for planning and building API. Only after all the processes for automating your service are carefully considered, we can start the development process. With API it will be easy for you to integrate new client apps independent of the platform they are build on.

This approach allows you to save time and valuable resources and helps to painlessly scale service in the future.

Registration

You want your app to be safe and easy to use. That’s why companies offer both Facebook/Google+ and email registration in their app and require users to specify their phone number from the very beginning.

Registration screens for apps

Maps, GPS and routing

GPS is used for identifying current location of the user device. And with maps and positioning users can easily find their car. If you need to calculate duration of travel and build routes, a routing server is required.

Maps in Lyft and Uber

For our road quality monitoring app UARoads available for Android, iPhone and iPad we used OpenStreetMap (OSM) since we also chose their database for our project.

But in general we recommend to use native maps available on the client’s platform. For example, Google Maps are a natural choice for Android. This way you can reduce development costs.

Communication and notifications

Taxi app developers can spare users some time by offering them to choose their favorite type of car or other preferences (like cars that allow smoking or traveling with pets). The passengers and the drivers or managers should then be able to contact each other via private messages or phone to discuss all the details. Ideally is to keep users’ private data secure. and implement it without revealing the phone numbers.

Hailo app

And for notifying users about important events (for example, that rental period is expiring or their taxi has arrived) SMS and push notifications are used. While push notifications are easy to create, for integrating SMS you will need to work with communication service provider. Uber prefers to work with Twilio but there’re other similar services, for example Nexmo or Sinch.

Payments

Offering users to pay for a taxi ride right from the app is an excellent practice you should follow. Top taxi market players are struggling to offer more than paying with credit cards and Paypal. For example, Uber and Lyft have implemented Apple Pay and Google Wallet as well.

Payment in Uber

For integrating payments, a taxi booking app development company can use systems like Braintree, WorldPay or Stripe. There are also a number of other services available out there, like Payfirma for bankcards payments.

Tips are also an important thing to remember during taxi and car booking mobile app development. You can allow users to automatically add a tip to the trip value or offer them options for doing it:

Adding tips in Lyft

Profiles and rating

Profiles and ratings are important features that allow you to keep the community lively and satisfied. By closely monitoring your drivers’ and cars’ ratings, you can identify problems with customer satisfaction at early stages. By allowing drivers to rate passengers, you can make this process even more valuable. Here are examples from Hailo and Lyft:

Rating in Hailo and Lyft

As for profiles, you can include as little information as possible, for example, a photo, name and car model for drivers or, if you prefer, make it more extended and allow users to add a small bio like in Sidecar:

Sidecar driver profile

Examples of Best Taxi Booking Apps

With no doubt the first service you think of hearing about the best taxi booking app is Uber, it has really revolutionized the taxi service and not only. The term Uberization has entered our language and the phenomenon of Uber service influenced various spheres of life.

Uber

In the world of taxi booking apps, Uber is the dominant available in around 70 countries and almost half a million cities.

Uber app allows users to:

  • Set pickup location,
  • Choose one of the available car types,
  • See the approximate time of arrival and monitor your car as it approaches,
  • Add your credit or bank card that will be automatically used for paying for the ride.

Bolt

Bolt follows Uber in popularity. It is a well-known taxi app based in Estonia and operating in over 25 countries, Latin America, Spain and Portugal are among them.

The total number of passengers exceeds10 million and half a million drivers who service them. Bolt solution allows to:

  • Set the destination,
  • Know the cost of the ride upfront,
  • Rate the riding experience and the driver,
  • Pay in the app.

Lyft

Lyft is the US most popular app operating in almost 650 cities, 9 of which are in Canada. The service is famous for its affordable prices.

Some of the top features of this taxi app are that a user can

  • Book a ride with a finger tap on the screen,
  • Track his car in real time and see the estimated time of arrival,
  • Pay directly from the app,
  • Share rides with professional, high-rated drivers.

Our Experience

Speaking about taxi booking app development services, we cannot but should mention mobile solution creation for BBGO.

The key challenge laid in the search of taxi apps’ best patterns for the new product. At present design is often sacrificed for the sake of intuitive operation and perfect UX. Therefore, we studied tens of popular solutions, figured out their best and most used features:

  • preferred addresses demonstration on the main screen,
  • choice of the vehicle with a fixed price,
  • current car position monitoring,
  • and the possibility to leave feedback.

The new system includes a unique loyalty system. A passenger receives bonuses after each ride and can use them for a new order or share with a friend.

For the drivers, we made the entrance to the system simple and quick. The driver can register and scan the documents right in the app and just wait for the admin to approve the application. Then the work starts. The integrated map allows full-featured navigation or the drive can switch it off.

In the process of development, we created a full set of flexible services for launching the new system on the market, optimizing, and scaling it in the future.

The other cases to mention in the context of transport solutions are SmartSeeds and MeinFernbus.

SmartSeeds is an Uber-like app for cargo transportation which was created to simplify and systematize search of carriers in the seeds and grains transportation process.

For 3 years we took part in the development of a web project and mobile applications for MeinFernbus. The part of the project related to taxi booking app development specifics is bus routes visualization. Find more details here.

Final Thoughts

Nowadays everyone has a smartphone or tablet and with an on demand taxi app development for your business or startup, you will become closer to your users and win a bunch of new clients.

Stfalcon.com has experience in developing solutions for the transport industry. We will be happy to create Android and iOS apps for your company. Check our portfolio or contact us to discuss your project. Let us know what product you need, and we’ll find the best way to craft it for you.

About autor

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Sasha is a team lead of our mobile development team. He conducts regular meetings for analyzing code and summarizing lessons learned that help to keep high motivation and set clear personal development goals for each of the team members.