The era of Airbnb shows that sharing is a great concept. Coupled with that, the interest in traveling seems to be growing with every passing day. If we were to converge these two changes of perception it would result in ride-sharing or carpooling.
Classically, carpooling boomed through just word of mouth. It wasn’t surprising to see you share your ride with your favorite neighbor or a colleague who stays in a locality that is close by yours. However, with the advancement in technology, ride-sharing and carpooling have come a long way.
Carpooling has transcended into the world of mobile applications. The market for carpooling has been established by services like BlaBlaCar, Uber, and Lyft. However, in spite of being dominated by these giants, there is still a market for carpooling and ride-sharing apps. We will discuss the features and essential aspects of such an application.
What is Carpooling?
Before we embark on a business, it is important to understand what the business actually is! Ridesharing or carpooling can be used interchangeably. It is a type of cab service where a driver picks up passengers who are boarding the same route. This is a little bit different from the usual cab services. It cannot completely be called as an on-demand service. The driver does not change the destination based on the requirement of fellow passengers.
The only advantage that a driver can get is in terms of saving fuel costs. The passengers who participate in carpooling share total ride costs. There are also models where a driver can collaborate with other people who have a driving license. This will help the driver in getting some rest during the trip.
The biggest advantage of rideshare is that it saves fuel cost. This not only translates to better saving for the driver but also in less fuel being spent for a single trip, positively contributing to the environment.
How do ridesharing applications work?
A driver fills the form in a ride-sharing application and gives information about the origin and the destination of their drive.
Passengers who used by sharing applications can search and see if there are drivers who offer rides for their pickup and drop destinations.
The passenger makes the payment for their right share and the collected payment is credited to the driver after the completion of the trip but after a deduction for the services offered by the application.
Different types of rides
The classic long-distance – these rides generally happen between one city to another city and in a few cases, even between two different countries.
Private taxi – this ride-sharing is almost similar to taxi but just that the driver won’t go to a destination based on the demand of the passengers. This will be useful for people who commute between two different destinations inside a city on a one-off basis.
Regular trip sharing – there are people who commute on a regular basis between selected destinations. It could be for work or study purposes. In these instances, carpooling can happen between people who start from or travel to the same destination.
Starting a ride-sharing business
The concept of ride-sharing and carpooling is relatively new, and it has not been in existence for more than a couple of decades. On one side, we can look at services like Uber and BlaBlaCar that have already imposed their dominance over this feat. On the other side, there is a lot of business opportunity that awaits people who embark on creating apps for carpooling. A ready-made solution like Uber clone can be implemented to startup a ride-sharing app instead of going with the app development from scratch.
One of the biggest keys to being successful in the business of ridesharing is in identifying your niche. The business owners can choose from any one of the types of ride-sharing options that have been listed above.
The revenue generation model
It has to be admitted that no business is complete without having a perfect model to generate revenue. With respect to a ride-sharing application, there are different ways in which you can generate your revenue.
Ads – one of the most common ways in which ride-sharing applications generate revenue is by ads that run on the app. This works in cases where the app is free to download. That can be an option where the users can pay for a previous version of the app where there will not be any ads.
Freemium model – the users will get basic features for free and without any ads. However, if the users would like to access a few additional features, it can be made available on payment. This version of the app can be paid.
In-app purchase – while this model might not be completely suitable for ride-sharing applications come there can be options where drivers can occupy top positions by paying a certain amount.
Ridesharing has its own share of advantages and disadvantages. It helps in saving time, fuel and other costs for the driver. It results in fewer traffic jams and better advantages for the environment with the chances of meeting new people, ridesharing is a mini social network in itself!
Essential features of a ride-sharing app
A ridesharing application needs to have a few features to be designated as a minimum viable product (MVP). The features are as follows:
Facility for users to create information about their route and destination.
Facility to track specific drivers and passengers.
Searching for available routes. Payment gateways for users to make payments and for drivers to claim their payments.
Facilities to verify the identity of the driver and the passenger.
GPS connections to track rides in real-time and initiate SOS if required
facilities for driver and passenger to communicate with each other before booking a ride.
An administrator panel to manage accounts and control the process.
Data-driven intelligence to suggest users their rides based on their history.
Rating and ranking system.
Facility to sign up using social media accounts.
There is no question that the business opportunity that lies ahead for ride-sharing applications is nothing short of fantastic and expensive. It requires the businesses to understand the specific avenues where opportunities are available to make the ride-sharing business a profitable one. In addition to this, the business to partner with the right technology provider to create the ride-sharing application which falls in line with the best practices of business and user-interface.
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