Could a bespoke taxi app help boost your business? Let’s look at the pros and cons …
With mobile apps dominating many areas of modern 21st Century life, isn’t it about time your taxi business got in on the fun? In this article, we’ll take a look at what E-hailing is and whether you should consider adding an E-hailing app to your business armoury.
Just as we recommend staying on top of the latest technological developments in the taxi market, having the right insurance for taxis is an important part of protecting your business, too. Speak to the helpful team at the Taxi Insurer today to get your taxi covered now.
What is E-hailing?
The concept of E-hailing, or using a smartphone app to request a ride, dates back to the early 2000s, but it wasn't until the launch of Uber in 2009 that the concept really began to gain widespread popularity.
Heralding nothing less than a ride hailing revolution, Uber disrupted the traditional taxi industry by allowing users to quickly and easily request a ride using their device.
Since the launch of Uber, numerous other E-hailing companies have emerged, including Bolt, Free Now, Ola, and Gett. Many of these companies have expanded both in the UK and internationally, with E-hailing services now available in hundreds of cities around the globe.
With that growth, E-hailing apps have also led to the creation of the so-called ‘gig economy’ as individual drivers have taken on work for E-hailing companies. While this has resulted in the creation of flexible work opportunities for many, it’s also led to concerns about worker rights and employment protections.
Despite the challenges, it’s likely that E-hailing will play an even larger role in taxi and PHV drivers’ working lives in the future. And as this happens, you’ll need insurance for taxis that keeps up with your changing business needs.
How does E-hailing work?
E-hailing apps use GPS technology and mapping software to provide real-time tracking and routing information, ensuring that rides are efficient and safe.
They also have safety features in place, such as in-app emergency contacts, real-time location sharing, and driver background checks.
In essence, E-hailing apps typically work in the following way:
- A rider downloads the app, creates an account and enters their payment details.
- After the rider enters their pickup location and destination, the app matches them with a nearby driver who is also using the app.
- Using the app, the driver accepts the ride request and the rider is then sent information about the driver and the vehicle, including the driver's name, photo, and number plate.
- The driver's progress can be tracked by the rider on a map in the app, and they’ll receive notifications about the estimated arrival time.
- The fare is calculated based on the distance travelled and the time taken for the ride.
- At the end of the ride, the rider pays for the fare through the app, and can leave a rating and review for the driver.
- The driver also has the option to rate the rider, and the ratings are used to maintain a high level of service.
In recent years, the ride-hailing industry has seen tremendous growth, with the rise of E-hailing apps like Uber or Bolt leading the charge. So much so that today, with just a few taps on a smartphone, a ride can be summoned in minutes.
This new way of hailing rides has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look.
7 pros and cons of E-hailing apps for drivers
As with any new technology, there are significant advantages and disadvantages for taxi and PHV drivers using E-Hailing apps.
- Increased income: E-hailing apps provide drivers with access to a larger pool of potential customers, leading to an increase in ride requests and, ultimately, income.
- Flexibility: E-hailing apps allow drivers to choose their own hours and work as much or as little as they like. Turn on the app when you want to work and turn it off just as easily.
- Improved routing: E-hailing apps often use GPS technology to provide drivers with the most efficient routes, reducing travel time and increasing their income.
- Access to a wider customer base: E-hailing apps allow drivers to serve a wider customer base, including those who may not have access to traditional taxi services.
- Cashless payment system: With E-hailing apps automatically handling payment, there’s less need to worry about carrying cash and change.
- Potential for surge pricing: Some E-hailing apps will boost fares during particularly high periods of demand.
- Passenger ratings: A great way to build a good reputation but also avoid fares where there might be trouble.
- Increased competition: With the number of E-hailing drivers increasing, it might be more difficult to secure ride requests.
- Reduced earnings: Some E-hailing apps take a significant chunk of the fare as a commission, reducing the driver's overall earnings.
- Still need to pay your overheads: Fuels costs, maintenance and insurance for taxis all still need to be paid.
- Lack of job security: E-hailing apps can stop giving you work without notice, leaving you without an income.
- Increased expenses: Some E-hailing apps require drivers to have a newer, well-maintained vehicle, leading to increased expenses for the driver.
- Risk of customer complaints: Drivers using E-hailing apps can receive negative ratings or complaints from passengers, often unfairly. These can negatively impact their ability to secure ride requests.
- Keeping track of changing terms and conditions: Keeping up to date with an E-hailing app’s latest rules concerning rewards, expenses and fares can be a headache.
5 popular E-hailing apps worth trying today
Think you could work for an e-hailing service? Here’s a very quick rundown of five of the most popular apps worth considering:
- Uber: Needing no introduction, world-conquering Uber is a very popular choice with drivers and riders, offering a wide range of vehicle options, including UberX, UberXL, UberPool, UberAssist and UberAccess. Read our ultimate go-to guide to Uber for everything you need to know.
- Bolt: A rapidly growing E-hailing app covering a wide range of UK cities, it offers competitive prices, lower commission rates and a range of ride options. Find out how to become a Bolt driver in the UK, with our handy guide.
- Free Now: Formed in 2020, Free Now offers a variety of ride options, including taxi, private cars, eBikes, and eScooters.
- Ola: Operating in many parts of the UK, global E-hailing app Ola offers daily payments, competitive commission rates and dedicated 24/7 support.
- Cab:app: A cabbie-founded E-hailing app that prides itself on being very driver-friendly.
These are just a few of the many E-hailing apps available in the UK, each offering its own unique features and benefits. Whatever the focus of your taxi or PHV business there's bound to be an E-hailing app out there for you.
For even more E-hailing apps that every taxi driver should know about or the next generation of taxi apps every taxi driver needs to know about, you’ll want to read our insightful guide. If you do decide to link up with an E-hailing app then something you must do is stay on top of important business decisions such as what insurance for taxis you need.
Should you develop your own E-hailing app?
With large companies like Uber and Bolt dominating the market, you might think that mobile apps are only for big brands, but you’d be wrong. There are many small and mid-sized businesses getting involved in the mobile app trend.
While not every taxi business needs an E-hailing app, in today's digital age, businesses that don't embrace technology risk being left behind. And the taxi industry is no exception.
The rise of E-hailing apps has revolutionised the way people think about taxis and PHVs, and it's time for traditional taxi and PHV companies to take notice. Here are several compelling reasons why your taxi business should at least consider developing its own E-hailing app.
- Increased convenience: E-hailing apps make it easier for your customers to book a taxi. Providing a much more convenient and efficient service is bound to increase customer satisfaction and help your taxi business stand out from the competition.
- Lower overhead costs: Reducing the need for an office to manage bookings, an E-hailing app could help reduce overhead costs for taxi businesses. Reducing your costs means you can pass the savings on to your loyal customers. If you do have a change in circumstances, always remember to review your insurance for taxis to make sure it still meets your needs.
- Easy payment: In-app payment options means customers don’t have to carry cash.
- Improved customer service: From the moment they book a ride to the moment they step out of the taxi, an E-hailing app will provide customers with real-time updates and information.
- Increased safety for customers: GPS tracking and driver ratings will help make customers feel more secure, especially when travelling alone.
- Greater business reach: Developing your own E-hailing app can increase your business reach. With the ability to target specific markets and demographics, your company can grow and expand its customer base fast.
As you can see, developing an E-hailing app could be a smart investment for any taxi business. So, what are you waiting for? Start exploring your options and join the ride-hailing revolution today!
Step-by-step guide to developing an E-hailing app for your taxi business
Wondering where to start when it comes to developing your own E-hailing app? Here's a step-by-step guide to get you started.
- Do your research: Before you start developing your app, you’ll need to research the needs of your target customers and gather data on what your rivals are offering.
- Decide what features and functionality to include: Think real-time tracking, fare calculation, in-app payments, access to booking history, and driver ratings.
- Work out your budget: How much do you have to spend? If you want an app to rival Uber’s for features and functionality, then it’ll cost you!
- Decide who will develop your app: There are several different options available for developing an E-hailing app. From independent app developers to external app builders like Innofied and Enuke, they each have their own pros and cons.
- Don’t forget user experience: Make sure the app design is user-friendly and intuitive. You’ll want it to look great and provide a positive experience for users.
- Test and launch: Before announcing your E-hailing app to the world, it's important to thoroughly test it to ensure everything is working as expected.
- Marketing: Promoting your new app online and getting the word out there in your local community are vital if you want to succeed.
This is only a quick rundown. For a more in-depth look at how to create an app for your taxi business check out the other articles on our site.
As your business grows, so will your risks. Make sure you’ve got the cover you need by talking to the team about insurance for taxis today.
Find insurance for taxis or PHVs from the specialists
What does insurance for taxis or PHVs cover when you come to a specialist like the Taxi Insurer? Let’s take a look.
With access to an industry panel of leading UK insurers, benefits of cover arranged through us can include:
- Protected No Claims Bonus
- Cover for Minibuses and MPVs
- Cover for private and public hire
- 24-hour claims management service
- Mirror NCB from other insurance policies
Whatever you need to know about insurance for taxis, the team at Taxi Insurer can help. Give us a call today.