Why is Drivers’ Experience More Important Than Riders’ in a Taxi App Like Uber?

Do you use an app to call a taxi? If you are one of those 78 million Uber riders, you should know how to hail a car in one click. Uber is one of the most popular taxi services nowadays. It launched in 2010 and rapidly conquered the taxi market. It is available in more than 84 countries and 858 cities worldwide. More than two million car owners have become Uber drivers giving rides to millions of people daily. Uber gained popularity mostly because of its customer-orientated value proposition: it provides convenient payments, lets you watch the trip’s progress, and evaluate drivers.

The main idea of the service is to connect drivers and riders through a mobile app. The steps to do that are rather simple: download an app, enter an address of your location, wait for a car – and voila, you receive a notification with a car brand and its number, the approximate time of arrival, and the cost for your journey.

Uber has two apps. One for riders and the other one for drivers. While riders are mostly satisfied with the app, drivers tend to be more critical.

(Image source: RYDAR Blog)

Companies like Uber compete for drivers

These days Uber is having tough times because of rapid development of its competition. Lyft and Curb in the USA, Kuaidi Dache in China, Ola Cabs in India, and Easy Taxi/Tappsi in the Latin America. Everybody is breathing down Uber’s neck. All these companies compete for the riders market just as much as they compete for taxi drivers.

How do taxi services encourage drivers to work for them?

Salaries

Gig economy gives an opportunity to car owners to get jobs with a flexible schedule. An average income of Uber drivers is about $364/month (Earnest.com, 2017). This is less than what Uber’s competitors Lyft and Curb pay. Despite Uber offering drivers the lowest pay,  neither of the companies on the taxi market pay the salary that would satisfy the drivers. Because of low wages about 65 percent of drivers work for companies like Uber for only six months and then quit the job.

Even though the salaries are low, a lot of people still apply for a job of a taxi driver. Many of these drivers work as part-time cabmen between one and 15 hours per week when they have free time from their main jobs. Additional source of income and flexible hours are the most important factors that influence a driver’s work choice. But not the only factor.

An app is literally a driver’s workplace so its convenience really matters.  Drivers use the app to find, locate, and contact riders, to give lifts or deliver food. It needs to be really easy to use so drivers could have a smooth experience. Let’s see what needs to be in the winning app for drivers.

Onboarding

Being a newbie isn’t easy. New taxi drivers need to adjust to their role as a transportation service workers and learn how to find and manage rides via the app. Drivers may wonder a plenty of things: how to sign in the system, how to get the first order, how to navigate to the required location, and so on.  Numerous tutorials help Uber drivers at all stages explaining the rules, giving recommendations on professional look and behavior, and instructing how to organize the first ride. They also run webinars that explain how to become an Uber partner. To make an app useful for drivers, developers must prepare guides describing in detail all the procedures either in a video or via step-by-step instructions built in the app.

(Image source: Unsplash)

Navigation

Good drivers can easily get you right to the destination. For that, they need excellent navigation tools. Most taxi apps for drivers contain maps, so does Uber. It offers Google maps by default settings, but drivers can choose their own preferable navigation app. To provide drivers with the most suitable navigation opportunities, the settings should be easy to find and interact with. It’s also a good idea to offer a fine range of maps to choose from. The default navigation system must be really efficient and show the actual data about the roads condition, the number of lanes, and traffic jams.

Planning routes

Being able to pick-up passengers nearby makes on-demand services very convenient for part-time drivers. In order not to discriminate riders, Uber drivers cannot see a destination point until the passengers get into the car. It is good for riders, but not for drivers. If a cabman has to drive for 10 miles to give someone a lift for half a mile, it does not make a lot of sense for him to take the order. For drivers, such “blind” taking of orders causes the inability to plan their time

Declining orders

Do you prefer to talk with a driver or remain silent? Do you tolerate smoking in the car? All these things are up to the rider who can choose the preferences for a ride. But can drivers reject a rider if they don’t suit their preferences? Before picking up a driver a rider can see the following information about their ride:

  • Service / vehicle requested (e.g. UberX, UberBlack, etc.)
  • Rider rating
  • Pickup location
  • Scheduled trip vs. spontaneous
  • A warning for potentially a long trip.

Uber drivers can decline rides in the following cases:

  • The address is hidden
  • A rider did not show up
  • Too many riders
  • Too much luggage
  • Other reasons

Regardless of the reason, refusing passengers negatively influences drivers’ rating. When the rate reaches 4.6 points, a driver gets a warning and undergoes a “quality review.” And if the rating remains low, the system deactivates this driver. But what if the rejections are really justified in the cases when the passengers were drunk or inadequate? How can a driver prove it? To clarify the situation they support service in place.

Surge pricing

Uber increases the fares for rides during the periods of excessive demand, such as holidays, bad weather conditions or when there aren’t enough drivers on the road. When surge pricing is active, Uber cabmen can see the darker colored areas on a map and can go there to get expensive orders. It is a great chance for drivers to make good money, and they willingly accept this opportunity. For example, surge pricing once doubled the number of drivers after a sold-out concert in New York City.

But the hot time fares change drastically. The price calculation becomes a “black box” for both drivers and riders. Some  Uber cabmen complained about the lack of transparency in pricing because they got the orders by a surge price and earned an ordinary fare. So if a taxi service is going to use surge pricing, its rules should be clear for drivers.

What a successful taxi app should possess?

An outstanding driver’s application is one of the main factors of a taxi app development. Services like Uber target drivers to the same extent as riders, so the apps for both parties should be great. An efficient driver’s app should offer clear guides, transparent payment, updated maps, a wise evaluating system, and a responsive support center. The app works well if drivers can start using it without extra help and do not feel confused at any stage in the workflow.