The taxi market is very competitive nowadays and having a taxi booking app and dispatch software is essential for every taxi service provider. The Uber revolution has transformed the taxi industry as more and more taxi businesses have started to invest in taxi dispatch software and mobile applications.
This article outlines the features, challenges, and cost that are associated with getting a taxi business online. If you want to get a taxi booking and dispatch software for your business, read the entire article to understand the vital features and the cost of Uber-like app development.
What are Taxi Booking Apps and how do they work
The theory behind online taxi booking and dispatch software is very simple. The rider (customer) enters a destination and confirms their current location. The taxi dispatch software then assigns this ride to a nearby driver, in accordance with the customer preferences such as type of car, driver gender, driving experience, ratings, etc. The taxi booking apps include GPS tracking, live customer support, ride-sharing feature, payment integrations and digital-wallets.
How can your Taxi Booking and dispatch software compete with an app like Uber?
Yes, you heard it right. There are many app features and marketing strategies that UBER lacks, and you can take advantage of them to capture some of Uber’s current and untapped potential market share. Uber has more than 91 million active monthly users and is a strong competitor for all the taxi-booking startups.
You can do it by offering a unique value proposition
Your online taxi app service should attract both riders and drivers. To do that, you will be required to create a unique value proposition for both of them. The following are some examples:
To attract your customers, offer them features and pricing plans that your competitors don’t have. The unique value proposition can be:
- Fixed prices for common destinations such as Airports and Railway stations.
- In-app payment gateway and digital wallet for cashless payments.
- Filter options for driver rating, vehicle type, etc.
- Discounts and free rides on some occasions.
- Cost and time estimations
- Estimated arrival time and notifications on arrival powered by Geofencing technology.
To attract your drivers, you would have to create a working environment in which they feel comfortable to work in. Here are some suggestions:
- Opportunity to earn extra in peak hours
- No investment requirement to join in
- Easy and fast mobile payment options
- Insurance coverage
- Flexible working hours
Why the Hype around Taxi Booking Apps?
1. Ease of booking
Booking simplicity is one of the primary reasons why people like to book cabs online. Modern society is busy, and it demands everything to require just a tap of a finger on their smartphones. Bringing taxi services online via a mobile application allows riders to leverage booking the cab on-the-go. The ease of booking and the real-time nearby cab information creates a stunning booking experience for your customers.
2. Real-time location tracking
The cab services aren’t limited to geographical locations. People use cabs to travel inter-city, inter-state, and in some cases, international. Having real-time geolocation helps cab service providers as well as the riders.
For the cab/taxi service providers, the benefit of real-time vehicle location is that they can optimize their routes and monitor the driver’s behaviour. If the company owns the cabs, GPS tracking features become more useful as it allows them to keep their assets safe and secure.
For the customers (riders), the location tracking feature enhances personal safety. As the rider is travelling with a stranger (driver), their personal safety is at risk and throughout time in the world, there have been many such cases where the drivers abused the rider. The taxi booking app can include advanced features such as location sharing and panic alarms. It allows riders to share their real-time location and route with their contacts.
3. Improved visibility into the operations
A mobile-friendly taxi booking and dispatch software application can always enhance your operational visibility. You can stay connected with your passengers as soon as the app is installed into their mobile devices. Taking feedback from your customers will help you improve your services.
The admin panel provides real-time insights into your taxi business operations. Having such visibility can help you reduce operational costs, improve efficiency and improve security for your passengers.
4. 27/7 taxi service
Without taxi booking mobile applications, finding a taxi nearby often wasn’t easy. Especially in the odd hours such as 3 AM. The taxi booking apps use real-time geo-locations to identify the riders’s location and assign the ride to a nearby taxi driver.
5. Hasslefree customer service
Another reason why customers prefer using online taxi booking services is that the riders are aware of the fact that the online taxi services are well managed and can provide assistance immediately. With improved transparency, the demand and supply are well managed and any change in travel plans can be modified without any hassle. Such customer services bring confidence from the users, making them prefer your services over others.
6. Data Collection
To use the online taxi service, the customers will have to register themselves. While registering, they would share their email address, mobile number, birth dates, and more such personal information. Now, this information becomes valuable for the taxi service provider (you), as you can combine this information with travel history to help you personalize your services.
7. Cost-efficient Pricing
Because of the mobile taxi booking service, there won’t be any unwanted fare negotiation between the passenger and driver. Booking taxis via mobile phones is a game-changer. It surpasses the efficiency of traditional taxi services in terms of fares, as the rates per km/trip can be low due to improved demand-supply management.
8. Customer Feedbacks
The brand image of a taxi service company largely depends on the customer feedback and ratings. The feedback not only helps you improve your services but it also generates more sales as people nowadays are more inclined to word of mouth persuasion.
By taking your taxi services online, most of your interaction with the customer will be via the taxi booking mobile app. At the end of every ride, you can ask your customer to rate the trip. This way you’ll get a bulk of feedback to work upon.
9. Payment options
With mobile taxi apps, you can offer your customers a variety of payment options. This gives your customer the freedom to pay from cash to digital wallets, and it will improve their ride experience. The customers can also link their favourite payment options with the app so that they can enjoy hassle-free payments.
10. Enhanced Productivity
As you can monitor the performance of your taxi business on a daily basis, you will manage it effectively. You will be able to motivate your drivers by improving their productivity and resolving issues as quickly as possible. By providing your drivers with more trips and improving their productivity, you’ll give a boost to your revenues.
Features of a Taxi Booking App
Generally, a taxi booking and dispatch software has three types of users – Customers, Drivers, and Administrators. Each type of user will require some different set of features. Here are some of them:
1. Customer (Rider) App
- Profile management. The riders should be able to manage their profiles within the application. Profile information includes personal details, locations, payment details, etc.
- Map. Using this feature, the riders can pin the pick and drop locations on the map itself. The feature also allows them to track the driver’s real-time location and see the route on the map. Taxi app development companies usually integrate the google map functionality for this feature.
- Book a taxi. When the user has selected the pickup & drop location, they can book a taxi. This feature also allows the riders to select between the ride options such as vehicle type, ride type (Shared or Private), etc.
- Call the driver. Sometimes it becomes essential for riders to communicate with the driver before pickup. This feature allows them to communicate via the cellular networks. Once the rider presses this button, the app shares the driver’s contact information with the rider.
- Time estimations. As the world is moving at a fast pace and nobody has time to waste while waiting for the cabs to arrive, estimated time of arrival and time of journey are very crucial for the rides.
- Notifications. The riders get notified about cab arrival, booking status, total fares, payment transaction, and sales promotions.
- Fare estimates. This feature comes handy when the rider is comparing the fares for various types of rides. Knowing the fare before the ride confirmation infuses confidence into customers. Please note, that fare estimates are based on some assumed parameters such as distance and time taken to travel. It is better if the actual fare is near to the estimated amount.
- Rating and review system. This allows customers to rate the rides instantly. There can be many parameters on the basis of which the rider can rate the service.
2. Driver App
- Profile Management. The drivers need a feature within the app to manage their earnings and personal details. With this feature, they can see the completed rides and details on a daily basis and also can manage their earnings.
- Map. Drivers need maps to see the route, pick up location, and destinations.
- Notifications. Drivers get notifications about pickup requests, cancelled rides, and rider messages. They also get notifications related to daily goals and activities.
- Call the rider. This allows drivers to contact the riders if the driver is having trouble finding the pickup location or some other issue arises. However, the app needs to make sure that the rider’s contact number isn’t revealed to the driver.
- Rating and reviews. This feature lets the driver rate the rider at the end of the ride. These ratings are used to ensure no rider is exploiting drivers.
- Fare and time calculator. The driver also needs to know the estimated time and fare for a particular ride.
3. Admin Panel
Administrators need features that allow them to manage and track the drivers and riders.
- Dashboard. The place where the admin would want all the necessary information at a glance. The dashboard for taxi service administrators must have a map feature where the administrator can see the live current location of all the taxies. Some other features can include but aren’t limited to total earnings, total number of rides, and ratings for the day.
- Reports and analysis. All the data collected from various rides and feedbacks are analyzed and visualized in a comprehensive manner. The admin panel uses various types of data science techniques and charts to bring insight out of the data.
- Restrict customers or drivers. Feature like this empowers admins to restrict the access of any user (driver or customer). There comes situations where this feature is required.
The development starts with building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). MVP includes the building app for all the three user types, but with limited functionality. For example, the first release won’t have any gamification feature, but it will allow the functionality for drivers connecting with passengers, and allow passengers to make payment.
The cost of taxi app development depends on many factors like the set of features to be implemented. However the cost to develop a taxi app can lie in between $5,000 to $500,000. This range is due to some services being like the MVP we mentioned above which will cost on the low end of the cost range we provided. However there are also services like Uber with extremely powerful databases and a wide variety of features that are much more expensive to implement.
While developing the perfect taxi booking app for your business, your aim should be to provide your customers and drivers with a unique value proposition. You should begin with finding your market niche, analyzing the market, and then applying the strategies that will drive fortune for your business.
It is advised that you opt for an MVP before going for a fully functional feature rich taxi booking app. An MVP app will allow you to analyze the gaps in your services so that you can improve them and focus on the right set of features for your full -feature app. It is said that building an MVP can save you upto 30% of cost and time.