Taxi Booking App Development: Step-by-Step Process, Challenges & Features
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Maps, GPS and routing
- Communication and notifications
- 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.
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.
You want your app to be safe and easy to use, so offer your users a One-Time Password registration. For such kind of registration a user just enters his mobile number, receives a randomly generated password, which is automatically inserted into the input field of the app to save time and simplify the procedure. The whole process takes just seconds and the client is registered in the app and signed in for the rest of time.
It’s extremely convenient for a taxi service, since mobile number is the key feature we need to interact with a client. With OTP registration a user should specify the phone number only once from the very beginning and later on it will be used for order confirmations, notifications, and communication with the drivers.
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.
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.
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.
Offering users to pay for a taxi ride right from the app is already a must nowadays. Take care to offer your passengers various payment options for their convenience.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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 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 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.
How Much Does it Cost to Create an App Like Bolt, Lyft, and Uber?
The key aspects taxi business owners are concerned with when they turn for taxi app development services are the budget and the time frames.
To create a taxi booking app, that is user-friendly and effective, you need to develop at least two mobile solutions (one for drivers and another for the clients calling a taxi) and an admin panel to manage the work of your booking service.
At Stfalcon we usually divide our development process into 5 stages, and online taxi booking app development will go through all of them:
- Discovery Phase,
- UI/UX design,
- Frontend and
- Backend development,
Let’s look closer at the process.
At the stage of discovery, Stfalcon’s development team meets the client, to understand his requirements and vision of the product, to find out what issues the potential users have and how technology can solve them. Being an experienced taxi booking app developer, we often present our vision aligned with the customer’s business goals and form a unique value proposition together to differentiate the product in the market.
A Minimum Viable Product allows launching a new solution with minimal features and quickly test the product and the market.
In the later iterations, the solution can be improved and optimized.
A discovery phase usually lasts about 3 weeks and the cost of it is around 2000USD.
At this stage, UX and UI designers craft the product, taking into consideration the key user categories, interfaces possible, color schemes preferable, app usability, static and animated elements, and much more.
The work on the solution’s visuals takes up to 3 months and the cost of this stage is somewhere around 12 000 USD for the product. The MVP design is slightly less — around 8000 USD.
Frontend and Backend Development (Two stages combined)
The major stage of a cab booking app development is the development itself. It is based on the agreed design and chosen methodology. It’s vital to decide upon a reliable, secure architecture, and divide the process into iterations, so that the core functionality and all the integrations were developed and implemented both front- and backend.
The average cost of this stage is 50000USD.
When you create your own taxi app you want it to operate smoothly and without issues, don’t you? Being a responsible cab booking app development company, we test our products, find bugs, fix them, and keep this process going until we are sure we’ve found everything we could. However, after launching an MVP, the users who book a taxi through the app still find new bugs.
We always warn our clients about it and underline that it’s quite natural.
On a client request, Stfalcon can additionally assist to submit apps to the Google Play and App Store to speed up the time to the market.
Another optional stage that can be ordered by a customer is post-launch support. Stfalcon then continues to improve, optimize and maintain the product after it’s launched.
To conclude: to build a taxi booking app for Android and iOS from scratch you should start with 65 000 USD in mind for MVP, but a customized app for calling a cab will most likely take you around 100 000 USD.
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.
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 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.