We have a very busy life today. People go to work, students go to schools and colleges, etc. This involves transportation.
Quality of life is improving day by day. Almost everyone has a motorbike or a car or two now. Those who don’t use the public transportation system. We have well developed public vehicle system as well. Cities are often associated with long lines of traffic. Why does this happen? Because of the increasing number of vehicles. This is greatly affecting the environment.
As a result, people have started sharing their rides. Not only this reduces the number of vehicles and help in traffic and environmental pollution but is also cost-effective. Today many consider ride sharing to be cheaper and safer than taxis and cabs. The added advantage is people get to talk to many people and makes the whole ride very enjoyable while earning some extra cash at the same time.
A ride-sharing app be it car-sharing or bike-sharing introduces you to a platform where you can ride pooling as well as taxi booking. It is a chance to meet like-minded people, save some money, and do your part towards the environment. You never know you could even hitch up a ride with people in your neighborhood or college whom you haven’t even talked to.
Maybe the biggest advantage is the economical factor. It is a godsend for migrants who come in search of jobs as well as people getting started with their career or not doing very well financially.
Now we have seen what and why ride-sharing apps. Let’s take up the question of how and what features are needed in such an app.
Some basic steps involved in creating a ride-sharing app include:
- Identifying: This includes the locality as well as the features and services you want to provide as well as the present competition.
- Developing: Any such application requires a fantastic UI/UX interface as well as a couple of other things like security, privacy, genuineness, etc. it should be user-friendly, responsive, and fast.
- Team: You need to have a well-formed team to manage it. The team should include designers, frontend and backend developers, cloud management, etc.
- Technologies: to include various needed features in your app, you need various technologies including AI, ML, etc to make it the best. Also, various other technologies are needed for various features like payment, location, etc.
- Cost: Perhaps the most crucial factor in the case of the owner of the ride-sharing app.
Identifying the users of the app
Passenger: He is the person who wants to save up on some money at the same time requires a convenient and safe mode of travel.
Rider: He is the one who wants to make some cash. He may be a licensed taxi driver or maybe a person doing some other job but wants to earn by sharing his ride.
The Business Model
Now we have identified our users. Next, let’s move on to the model. The same app interface cannot be provided to both the rider and the passenger. Both have different needs and features.
So, the model should be such that all needs of the two users must be met as well as other features like security and validity must be provided.
Features needed in a passenger app
- The user must be able to make a profile using email or social accounts and give various information such as preferences, rate drivers, save routes, etc.
- They must be able to see the available drivers in the vicinity as well as track them when a ride request is made.
- They must be able to choose vehicle types and the expected price for their destination before they make the final booking.
- They must be able to book in advance or at the moment.
- The payment option must be easy and safe. They can also provide in-app payment options.
- They should be able to rate and review the ride.
- Customer support must be available 24/7.
- Added features include multilingual support, save history options, automatic pick up location using phone’s GPS, panic button, live tracking for safety, and chat options.
Features needed in a rider app
- the present status of the rider must be shown.
- The rider must be able to see the location of the passenger as well as be given a route to them.
- The rider should have the ability to accept or reject bookings.
- They should be shown a fair estimation.
- They should also be able to see the ratings and reviews.
Apart from these two interfaces, there is another section in a ride-sharing app- the admin panel. This is the place where riders a passenger has no access to. It should the entire information about the app users as well as other information like the various rides, locations, ratings, and reviews.
Since the UI/UX deals with the interface, it is very important. It must be very easy for both the users to register, login, and find rides. It should also display the important and needed information of both the rider and the passenger as well as other details like cost, distance, review, etc.
Another important point is it must be responsive. The app must work well on all devices as well as across all operating systems.
Geolocation: one of the technologies to be used is Geolocation. The passenger must know the available drivers in the vicinity. At the same time, they must be able to track the riders they have booked. Similarly, the riders need the passenger’s location to reach them.
Geolocation also helps calculate the distance which in turn helps in estimating prices, helps track the traffic and gets better routes, etc. android developers use Google Maps API while iOS developers use CoreLocation Framework.
Push Notifications and SMS: This is another important feature needed. Sure, the rider or passenger may be tracking each other but notifications must be given. If it is a booking, these play a pivotal role.
Notifications work depending on where the user is online. If he is offline, SMS works best. So, sending the most important notification via SMS is the best option.
In android, push notification is done through Google Cloud Messaging, and in iOS, it is done through Apple Push Notification Service.
Payment: Today most transactions are done cashless. So most rideshare apps use a cashless system. Customers can pay using credit or debit cards and even use promo codes.
But companies have to follow certain guidelines when following such a system. The guidelines include the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) which is a set of requirements designed to ensure that all merchants and service providers that process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain the required level of security.
Paytm, Stripe and Braintree are some of the mobile applications that provide a payment gateway. An added advantage is that they can work on both Android and iOS.
Server: Unless you have a solid backend, you won’t have a successful result. A backend is needed to store information, process user requests, and calculate driver routes.
There are several options for servers.
• You can make a custom server i.e. you build the backend from scratch. This gives complete control over the app and can customize as and when required.
• Cloud server is another option that offers a wide set of infrastructure services — database storage, computing power, networking — and provides affordable solutions for both web and mobile projects.
• Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) is another option. It helps to connect to cloud servers and include features like user authentication, data management, push notifications, and integration with social networking services.
• Data is our gold. So, you need a good database system to control and manage data.
Cost: Of course, the frontend and backend would inquire a cost. Apart from these, the UI/UX is an area you need to spend on. Sure, you don’t need to have an expensive design, but your app should be sophisticated and user friendly. Other prices come in the planning stage, quality assurance, and project management.
But as always, there are challenges involved in this as well. Some challenges include-
• The biggest concern is security especially in the case of women. There are concerns about harassment and other issues like theft etc. Another fact is that Govt is mandated that businesses are solely liable for any kind of crime which happens through this app. Businesses have to pay for the losses.
• Vehicle verification is another concern. Since it is difficult to verify each vehicle that has been added by a rider because we can’t restrict them to not add multiple vehicles.
• It is required to follow government rules and regulations for the verification of the Aadhar. Aadhar API is not easily permitted to be used by the government since there are many processes involved in it.
These are just some points to be kept in mind while making a ride-sharing app. Implementing is a whole new level. Only when you start with something, do you come to know about the real challenges and problems. One single person can’t do everything. You need to have a well-skilled and trustworthy team to make it a successful venture. Meric Tree Labs can help you in making a ride-sharing app.It does come at a price. But day by day, this idea is becoming very popular. So, if done properly, it would be a grand success.