When we think of rideshare apps, we tend to think about the most popular ones, like Uber and Lyft. However, these are far from the only taxi booking apps on the market. The ridesharing market continues to grow as more people are ditching their cars, particularly in densely populated urban areas.
Globally, the ridesharing market is worth an estimated $117 billion in 2021 compared to $75 billion in 2020. While we often equate “Uber” with “ridesharing,” the company’s share of the U.S. rideshare app market is declining steadily as more apps become available.
All of these encouraging statistics means that now might be a good time to get into the rideshare or taxi booking app business. So, how can you build a taxi booking app, and how much will it cost?
What it Takes to Build a Taxi Booking App Like Uber
To build a taxi booking or rideshare app like Uber, you’ll need to develop apps for both drivers and users because they have different experiences.
Steps Involved in Booking a Taxi with an App
Here’s a breakdown of the steps users need to take to successfully book a taxi with an app like Uber and what that involves from the technical side.
Step 1: Request a ride
The user opens their app to request a car to show up immediately or to book a car to show up at a specified time and location. The user receives a price estimate before booking their ride, so they know how much the ride will cost them.
This estimate will come from a fare calculator, which will need to be built into your app. Uber calculates its fare rates based on factors like location, time of day, and the type of service ordered.
Step 2: Get matched with a driver
Nearby drivers who are connected to the app will all be notified. Drivers have the option of which rides to accept and reject. If a driver rejects a ride, it gets sent to the next driver. If they accept it, the user is notified and can track the driver via GPS to know exactly when to expect the driver to arrive.
This step requires geolocating through GPS integration, which means you’ll need a geolocation API in your tech stack.
Step 3: Take the ride
The driver shows up at the user’s location and delivers the ride. The user can track their ride the entire time using GPS to ensure they are going to the correct location. This, again, requires GPS integration.
Step 4: Payment
The genius behind Uber is that drivers and riders don’t need to deal with cash. Instead, all the transactions are completed digitally through the app. This includes tipping, which is optional for riders.
The app has an integrated payment system, which requires a high level of financial data security to protect users’ financial information. If you’re going to process and store credit card data, you will need to be PCI compliant.
Step 5: Rating
After the ride is completed, the app will prompt the user to leave a review for their driver. In addition, the driver can rate the rider. This dual rating system helps improve service and behavior for both riders and drivers, who can face consequences if they get consistently low reviews.
You’ll need a way to manage reviews and enforce consequences. This can come from your admin panel.
What Features You’ll Need for a Basic Taxi Booking App
You can build your app to be as basic or complex as you want. These are the essential features your app will need to help drivers have a good experience.
- UX/UI design
- Push notifications
- Estimates for ride costs
- Payment integration (including optional tip)
- Ability to call or text the driver from the app
- Registration and management of personal data
If you want a more advanced app that goes beyond these basic functionalities, here are some additional features you can include for riders.
- Ability to schedule a ride in advance
- Ability to book a ride for someone else
- Ability to split the cost of the ride with other riders
Here are the essential features you’ll need in order for your drivers to fulfill their role in a taxi booking app.
- Driver reports
- Advanced route optimization
- Option to be active or inactive
- Ability to edit their personal profile
- Ability to call or text riders from the app
- Daily reports of past bookings and earnings
- Bank integration so they can get paid with earnings
A few advanced features that can enhance the usability of your app for drivers include the following.
- Free cancellation within a set amount of time
- Heat maps showing where passengers are likely to be
- Driver destinations so you can pick up rides as you head back home
In addition, you will need to create an admin panel, which will give you an overview of your business processes and allow you to do things like manage payroll and collect user data.
The cost of a taxi booking app can range from around $67,000 to $150,000. This is because of the number of development hours it takes to build all the features required to create a seamless user experience for both riders and drivers. However, you can lower your overall costs by reducing features or by choosing to only build your app for Android or iOS.
The steps involved in using a ridesharing app need to happen seamlessly so riders can easily get where they need to go and drivers can be as efficient as possible to maximize their time and earn more money.
That’s why your app will need to include the above features. If you want to add more features, then you should expect higher development costs. However, these can be worth it if the additional features make your app more accessible or add value in another way that encourages riders and drivers to use your app instead of another one.
To build a taxi booking app, you’ll need a team behind you that includes the following:
- UI/UX designer
- Project manager
- Business analyst
- Android/iOS engineer
- Back-end developer
- QA engineer
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