ur team has recently developed a bespoke new taxi service for the European market. As always, during the work, the client had many questions about how such a product should be designed, so we decided to write a short article about what you need to know about developing a mobile taxi application. We hope that the article will be useful for you, we will be glad for feedback and questions that can be sent here, we will definitely answer you.
- What does a taxi service consist of?
- How is everything connected and working?
- Required investments, development and support costs
- Mandatory features that are required in any taxi service
The taxi service consists of 4 main parts:
1. Passenger mobile application
The passenger application allows the client to order a taxi with minimal effort by assigning a pick-up point on the map or via automatic address suggestion and, similarly, the drop-off or stop point. We recommend that you make sure to provide for the possibility of several stops along the way, this is especially true now, when, due to the pandemic, fewer people use public transport and they need stops for shopping, etc.
2. Driver's mobile app
The application for the driver should have a user-friendly interface so that while driving, the driver can see the data about the trip, as well as quickly take a new order without being distracted from driving. We have developed a module that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to select the most suitable orders for drivers. For this, data from the map service, information on the number of free cars in the area, the status of the current trip, and the history of the driver's previous work are used. As a result, not only the driver, but also the passenger wins, as he gets his taxi faster. Also, the driver's application can display statistics about the trip history, the number of trips depending on the day of the week and other analytical data that are useful to the driver. One of the most requested features is the support for the night theme, which makes it easier to interact with the application at night.
3. Admin panel
The administrative panel is a web interface to which the service management has access, as well as employees: dispatchers and managers. Typically, the main administrator can manage the access and permissions of other employees.
In the panel, you can work with sections extremely important for business:
- financial reporting by days, weeks, months, etc., also in the context of individual drivers or cities;
- real time data on free and occupied cars and drivers;
- passenger reviews;
- fleet management and driver data management;
- setting travel tariffs, taking into account such factors as time of day, day of the week, traffic congestion at a given time;
- calculation of driver's payment;
- management of the loyalty system, promotional codes, the possibility of refunds to passengers.
4. Server (backend)
It is fair to call the backend the core of the entire system. All data, key business logic, payments go through the server modules of the product. Therefore, it is extremely important to correctly approach the organization of the backend architecture so that the service can be easily supported and scaled in the future.
Taxi service business logic
The main scenario for ordering a taxi is quite simple
- The passenger chooses the addresses of boarding, stops and final destination, means important options for himself: the presence of luggage or a child seat, the class of the car.
- This request is sent to the server, where the algorithm calculates the cost of the trip based on distance, time of day, estimated travel time, taking into account stops and traffic jams.
- If the client agrees with the price, the server searches for the most suitable car and sends a notification to the driver.
- The driver is notified of a new order and can accept it. In case of refusal, the order is offered to another driver.
- The client receives a notification that a taxi has been assigned to him. He can find out the model and number of the car, its geolocation and when the driver arrives at the landing site.
- When a taxi approaches the landing site, the passenger receives an automatic notification that a taxi will soon arrive and he can get off.
- Also, the client can call or write to the driver through the built-in messenger in order, for example, to clarify the meeting point.
- After the trip, payment is made by choice: with a card attached by the client or in cash. The client can also leave an additional tip. After the end of the trip, the client leaves a review about the trip, which will further improve the quality of the taxi service.
The amount of investment for the development and support of the taxi service
The cost of developing any software directly depends on its functionality, complexity and the number of dependencies on third-party services. For example, without an intelligent driver selection system, the cost will immediately decrease by tens of thousands of dollars, because the development of such an AI module in itself is a rather complicated and expensive task.
We have experience in developing both a taxi service for $ 25,000, where there is minimal functionality and cross-platform solutions are used and a service that currently costs more than $ 150,000, where a large number of functions are present. At the same time, we continue to work on its development and support. Therefore, the development cost will directly depend on the specific requirements for the product.
One of the most important and often overlooked spending items is infrastructure and support.
- the cost of servers. Depending on the load and the choice of a hosting service, the price can reach several thousand dollars per year or more;
- the cost of the DevOps team, which will have to keep the server running and monitor the load;
- the cost of technical support for applications. It is often a misconception that it is enough to develop a product once, after which it will simply work as long as necessary. In fact, new mobile devices and mobile operating system updates are constantly being released, new requirements from Google or Apple for applications appear, so it is necessary to allocate time monthly for product support;
- other paid services: a gateway for sending SMS, access to the API of map services, bank acquiring (usually 3-4% of the transaction amount)
Mandatory features for any taxi service
Top features for passenger app
- car search by specified parameters
- information about drivers, the quality of their services, experience, reviews;
- feedback to the driver after the trip, the ability to leave a complaint
- tariffs, different payment methods (cash / non-cash);
- order status notifications via push notifications, SMS or messages in popular instant messengers
- the ability to add several addresses in one trip and specify a stop time for each
- delayed taxi order
- ordering a taxi for another person
Top features for driver app
- detailed online map, building the optimal route, GPS navigator;
- complete information about applications: point of departure / arrival, requirements for the car (for example, the presence of a child seat);
- travel history and statistics;
- manual time setting; connecting to the order search system and exiting it at a convenient time.
Top features for admin panel
- viewing all orders, their statuses (actual, taken into work, completed);
- tracking the location of transport, the history of their trips;
- financial reporting by day, week, month, etc ;
- admission of drivers to work and their removal;
- adding new cities and regions