How to Develop an On Demand Taxi-booking app like Careem

How to Develop an On Demand Taxi-booking app like Careem?

Originally published Feb 24, 2018, updated October 17, 2018

Struggles of getting a taxi on-time seem like a history now! Now, you need not wait for endless hours or end up paying more than the actual price for getting taxi services in real-time (on demand). Thanks to apps like Careem, Uber and Lyft, one can book a taxi, sit in the back seat and enjoy the outside view – no matter it’s a sunny noon or late rainy night.

With the changing interests and needs of people (especially millennials), the market for on-demand apps is mushrooming. On-demand taxi-booking apps like Careem are becoming the first choice of people for stepping out of their homes. This, undoubtedly, has enhanced the passenger’s life but is turning out a serious situation for conventional taxi businesses. According to the marketers, taxis are losing $20 million almost every day due to real-time booking options provided by Careem and other taxi-hailing apps. And the worst part is that this scenario is going to grow with time; people are not in a mood to turn towards the old taxi-booking methods.

So, if you are into taxi service business, it’s the right time to realize the importance of mobile presence for staying in competition and invest in on-demand taxi app development. Talking specifically about taxi business in Dubai, plan to build a Careem-like app rather than building an Uber clone app, since Careem is the first choice for enjoying exceptional taxi services in UAE.

Before we get into the technical part of how to create an app like Careem or how much does it cost to develop an On-demand taxi booking app, let’s have a look at the Careem’s success.

Careem – Uber of Middle East Countries

Founded in 2012, Careem is a transportation network firm based in Dubai which has recently declared to have crossed 1 million drivers, indicating to be the biggest competitor of Uber in the Middle East countries. The company offers high-class taxi services in nearly 53 cities across the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa. However, it does not have any taxi of its own; they have partnered with nearly 30 limo companies in UAE for providing taxi/cab booking services.

Now, as you know why Careem is the right choice for On-demand taxi hailing app development, let’s dive into the working, features, and the cost to develop an on-demand taxi booking app like Careem:-

Working of Careem Car Booking App

The Careem app allows the users to book a taxi for a real-time ride or for scheduling one. In case of ‘Ride Later’, the passengers can schedule rides for any day/week of the month. While in case of ‘Ride Now’, they can get a taxi at their doorstep in no time. The passengers can choose the taxi type, select their pick-up location (or just keep their GPS ON) and drop-off location via the inbuilt mapping system of this on-demand taxi booking app. They can get familiar with the estimated ride time and cost, assisting them in making a decision wisely.

On getting the taxi booked, the name and contact details of the Captain (driver) along with the car’s license number is displayed to the users. They can also go through the profile of the driver and get access to the additional details of the car. At the same time, they can track the car’s current location and remain in tune with the traffic.

When the taxi arrives, the passengers can get into the cab and enjoy the ride. They can pay the fare via cash, card payment or cashless payments, and can even leave a ratings/review about the experience. Besides, the app also offers a Tipping option for the users to reward the Captain with a tip at the end of the trip if they wish to.

Careem Taxi Booking process with Users and Captain

Roadmap to Developing an On-demand Taxi Booking App like Careem

To taste success like Dubai-based taxi booking service provider Careem, you first of all need to define your target audience and consider their needs.

  • Is there any scope for Careem or Uber-like On-demand taxi booking app development?
  • Who will be your target audience? Are they mostly residing in the Middle East region?
  • Who are your competitors? Whom are they targeting?
  • What are your short and long-term goals for the app?

By performing considerable market research, brainstorming and preparing the right strategy, you can take the crucial decisions like what features to add, what platform to choose for app development, what backend server to opt for, and so on. This is also essential to decide the UI/UX requirements as they vary according to the platform/device selected.

When it comes to building an app like careem car booking app, you need to consider the following modules and features for higher success (and for estimating the app cost as well):-

App Modules and Features

A taxi-hailing app basically has three modules – for passenger, taxi driver (Captain here) and admin, respectively. Each module offers significant features to the end-users, namely:

Passenger Module

As depicted by the name, this module defines the features that the Careem car booking app offers to the passengers, i.e. –

  • Registration: User can create a new account or sign up via Facebook.
  • Taxi Booking: User can book a taxi for real-time service or book it for later.
  • Pickup Location: Choose the exact location without typing (via GPS technology)
  • Taxi Type Selection: Allows the users to pick the type of taxi they want.
  • Interactive Map and Cab/Taxi Tracking: Shows all the taxis around and enable tracking the driver in real-time.
  • Promo Codes: Gives the opportunity to get discount on a ride by adding a digital code or coupon.
  • Payment: Registered users can pay directly from the app via this feature.
  • Push Notifications: To show information about the booking status, details of the car and other details.
  • Price Calculator: Enable the users to calculate the cost of the ride.
  • Ride History: Let the users see their previous trip details, including the pickup and drop-off location, fare, car chosen, etc.
  • Feedback: Shows other people’s review of their ride with the driver. In addition, enable the user to submit their feedback.

BONUS: To drive a successful business and make a better version of Dubai’s Careem taxi hailing app, consult with your hired taxi app development company to add these features into your development process:

  • Split Bill: The bill will be split among the passengers sharing the ride automatically.
  • Group Message: You can also offer the option of group messages for the passengers riding together.

Driver Module

Some of the features in the driver’s module are same as that in the passenger’s module, like Registration, Profile editing, in-app calling, and Push notification. However, some unique features incorporated in the driver’s module are:

  • Active/Inactive Status: When a driver set his status ‘active’, he will be visible on the map and likely to be chosen for picking a passenger. While ‘inactive’ status shows that the driver is not available for the booking process.
  • Activity Alert: Notifies Captain (driver) about a new trip and displays all the concerned details. Also, provide the functionality to cancel the booking.
  • Navigation: Shows the best route to reach the passenger and complete the trip.
  • Estimation: To verify the trip cost and discounts.
  • Reports: Show daily/monthly report of trips and earnings.

Admin Module

Though some business finds it irrelevant to include, various legal associations and taxi booking app builders strongly recommend having an admin module in the app. The admin module, for those not familiar, is a web-based software that keeps a record of activities performed by drivers and passengers and manages all the financial issues. Incorporated with Google Analytics tools, it allows the businesses monitor their app’s activities and work in the direction of achieving their long-term goal.

Technologies Involved

The process at the front-end might seem easier, but several technologies are employed in the background. To make it certain that your efforts into On-demand taxi app development do not go in vain, you need to understand the technologies that play in the background for offering a seamless experience to the app users. The prevalent technologies put into practice are:


GPS technology plays a crucial role in the process to develop an app like Careem. The technology enables tracking of the current location of end users, find the shortest route for the trip, estimate the time and fare for the ride, etc.

To offer all such location-based services, the best option is to integrate Google Maps into your taxi booking app. Besides, you can consider iOS framework MapKit for iOS app development and Android framework location APIs for Android app development.

Payment Gateway Integration

To avail in-app payment facility to the users, you have to integrate a payment gateway to your mobile app. There are various different payment gateway providers popularly used in the market like Stripe and Braintree. You can also use the Google Pay and Apple Pay mechanism for the same. However, to store and process all the credit card data, make it certain that you fulfil the requirements of PCI compliance.

Offer Redemption

Promo Code App Marketing Strategies

Providing promo codes is, no doubt, one of the best app marketing strategies. It prompts users to use your app frequently and recommend to others, which adds to app revenue. However, on the flip side, there arises the risk of promo code reusability.

To ensure that the promo code entered by the user is valid and unused by the same person, you can use various frameworks. For example, we suggest integrating DeviceCheck API framework with server-to-server APIs to ensure that same code is not used from the detected device.

Push Notification

To inform the passengers and drivers about the ride, this on-demand taxi booking app uses push notification technology. To implement push notification feature, use Apple Push Notification Service in iOS app development and Google Cloud Messaging service in the case of Android app development process. For an exceptional experience, you can also look forward to SMS notification service.

Apart from the above-mentioned technologies, you also need to consider the matching algorithm since the app won’t connect passengers to the nearby drivers on its own. Reputed brands like Uber and Careem use Machine learning algorithms for this process. To know the process of integrating Machine learning into your mobile app, click here.

Time and Cost to Develop an On-demand Taxi Booking App Like Careem

As covered in our earlier blog, the cost to develop an On-demand taxi booking app like careem depends highly on the features and the time required to avail those features. So, to get a cost estimation, let’s look into the time required to add these features into your Careem-like mobile app:-

  • Time required for Registration process: 120-150 hrs
  • Time required for Pickup location tracking: 15-30 hrs
  • Time required for Driver navigation: 100-120 hrs
  • Time required for Payment process: 110-130 hrs
  • Time required for Promo Code availability: 30-50 hrs
  • Time required for Ride History feature: 30-35 hrs
  • Time required for Push notification: 35-40 hrs
  • Time required for Ratings & Reviews feature: 32-35 hrs
  • Time required for making Daily/Monthly report: 14-18 hrs
  • Time required for fare estimation mechanism: 40-80 hrs

In general, the total time required for integrating these features into your mobile application is 526-688 hrs. This implies cost to develop an on-demand taxi booking app for a single platform is around $20,040-$27,500, if the hired company takes $40/hr.

Besides the time required for incorporating these features into your Careem-like taxi booking app, the taxi app development cost also varies with the size, experience, and location of the taxi app development company you hire.

So, make the decision wisely. And, in case you want to know more or invest in on-demand taxi-booking app, feel free to get in touch with our experts by filling this simple contact form.

Originally published Feb 24, 2018, updated October 17, 2018

Sofia Nazari
Sofia Nazari is a Marketing Strategist at Appinventiv, a top mobile app development company in Dubai that provides mobile solutions to various industries. Being a marketing expert, she works with the motive to continually increase brand awareness to drive business results.

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