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Future of taxi and ride-hailing services post COVID-19: Increasing demand for smart mobility

Transportation and mobility were considered to be the needs of humans that would never see a downward dip on the graph of demand. The COVID-19 crisis, however, has radically altered the landscape of many industries including travel and transportation, resulting in an unprecedented plummeting of demand and the proportional revenues. 

Every factor that fueled the growth of the transportation industry has come to a screeching halt because of the coronavirus crisis. No longer are people commuting to work on an everyday basis. No longer are people traveling for leisure purposes, bringing tourism globally to a stunning stop. Even the need for public transport options has also been reduced to almost zero.

Whether or not the world will revert to what it was after the COVID-19 crisis remains a question to be answered only by time – a question worth millions or probably billions of dollars! However, with respect to the transportation industry, there can be a few predictions based on how the market has been terraforming itself in the past few months. Ride-hailing companies have started to launch a COVID-19 safe taxi app with proper guidelines.

COVID-19-Induced Transportation Transformations

Focus on delivery

Transportation of people has almost come to a standstill. However, there has been a parallel and proportional increase in the demand for deliveries, spanning multiple verticals like food, grocery, and medicines. A lot of independent drivers who had been working for taxi services have now started to look at food and grocery delivery as a means of earning.

Since there is an emphasis on minimizing human interaction, a lot of companies have also started to develop autonomous delivery vehicles that enable the delivery of goods without any human contact. The biggest beneficiaries of these autonomous delivery vehicles include restaurants, vegetable vendors, and local pharmacies. It comes in as a big bliss to restaurants that endeavor to provide infection-free deliveries for their customers in the process of recuperating from their losses.

Ride-hailing for healthcare personnel

When every other vertical of work started to attenuate in its presence, healthcare alone was progressing in the opposite direction. There was a need for healthcare workers to travel to different areas to check for symptoms and treat patients. The deserved mobility solutions in very short notice. In this endeavor, a lot of standard ride-hailing businesses had launched dedicated services for healthcare workers at discounted rates. It not only help mobilize medical care but also opened up a new avenue for earning for these taxi drivers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Micro mobility

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the space of mobility was dominated by taxis. There were flickers of bike taxis but they did not live for long. Cabs might have provided adequate transportation solutions for those who could afford it, but it did not cater to the larger market, especially in countries like India where the utility trumps over elements like luxury.

To address this gap, a lot of micro-mobility solution businesses were born. They started to provide mobility solutions like scooters and Ebikes. it turned out to be a convenient feature for people who traveled within distances of 8 km from their homes. In most cases, it proved more than adequate for people who lived close to their workplaces.

Micro-mobility does not provide transportation but provides actual vehicles for people who might not have transportation of their own. These micro-mobility companies are also collaborating with restaurants to enable hygienic food delivery, especially for people who are stuck without any resources and for hostile students.

The resurgence of the bicycle

The bicycle has been making a come back with an emphasis on health and going green. However, the facilitation of this transition was extremely difficult for regulatory bodies considering the fact that people are used to motorized transport. With the COVID-19 crisis kicking in, there have been instances of creations of bicycle lanes in a matter of days as opposed to the usual years it might take.

How will it be after the crisis is over?

It might not always be easy to predict the future unless and until you are a Nostradamus. However, considering the market situations and the way in which certain metrics are moving, it is possible to extrapolate at least an approximate picture.

The impact can be divided into two different segments, one for personal transportation needs and the other for the industry as a whole.

People will want to look at a more personal experience for transportation. This is expected to result in an increase in the purchase of cars and motorcycles. In contrast to the past, there might be a new wave of electric vehicle purchases on both two-wheel and four-wheel fronts.

Even when it comes to taxis, carpooling which was witnessing a rapid growth will now plummet down to zero, and that too, with no signs of recuperation in the temporal proximity. There will be a narrow market when it comes to acquaintances, families, and friends carpooling together post the pandemic, but it will never become mainstream. 

Public transport cannot be completely done away with. That will be an increase in the adoption of contactless transportation. This includes usage of smart cards for purchasing tickets, eliminating the need for conductors, and incorporation of a separate cabin for the driver, isolating them from the passenger area. The modes of public transport will be regularly sanitized to make it hygienic and safe. In the long run, the induction of autonomous transportation solutions can be expected.

An offshoot of this can be expected to impact truck freights as well. Since the transportation of both perishable and nonperishable commodities is unavoidable, trucking companies will take extra care to ensure the safety of their staff.

From the business perspective…

When almost every country was in the process of releasing an app like Uber and when the on-demand ride-hailing app business was proliferating at an unprecedented pace, the COVID-19 crisis became an anti-thesis for their predictions and projections. The businesses are now forced to amend their ways, and it is only natural that the fittest survive.

Mobility as a service, commonly abbreviated MaaS, was already in vogue even before the pandemic. The coronavirus crisis has only been a catalyst to this transformation, with the change being the integration of a traffic management system.

Artificial intelligence will make strong inroads into the on-demand transportation industry. It will help in predictive analysis of demand in transportation, improving user experience, enhancing safety and security, and a lot of other aspects.

Public transport will become autonomous with smartcard-based ticketing, contactless transportation, and safer modes of transport.

The introduction of IoT

IoT is seen as one of the finest confluences is between the Internet and practical devices. We have seen the Internet transition from desktops to laptops to smartphones, and today to even smart wearables. Given this progression, it is only expected that everyday devices will incorporate the goodness of the Internet, resulting in a new breed of transportation means and modes with the IoT technology.

IoT facilitates more efficient data collection, and since data is one of the most valuable currencies right now, it would mean a lot for the businesses that incorporate this new technology. Filtered data can also be made available to government officials, facilitating smoother transactions and communications between businesses and officials.

IoT can also help in enhancing the safety of transportation, especially when it comes to micro-mobility services. Safety can be enforced either by using real-time sensory devices or by alerting concerned people in case of any violation of speed limits or lane discipline. It can also help in minimizing the instances of vandalism and theft by using an intelligent combination of algorithms that can be designed to disable the vehicle in case of any malicious behavior.

Above everything, the data provided by IoT-enabled vehicles can aid in scaling up the business at the right time.

There may be a few points of vulnerability like bugs and susceptibility to hacks. However, it is just a matter of time before all these lapses in perfection are addressed by using OTA upgrades and security features.

Conclusion

There might be a lot of innovations and transformations with respect to the transportation realm, and the app-based cab industry will be one of the sectors that will get affected albeit positively. Although there might be a lot of garnishes, it cannot be denied that at the base of everything lies an app like Uber. If you would like to build your own ride-hailing app business and ride on the new wave of profitability, all you need to do is invest in developing a taxi booking app.

It might be quite a cumbersome process to build the app from scratch. Alternatively, you can go for a white-label Uber clone app. The white-label solution helps launch ride-hailing apps in a very short time as the product is available off-the-shelf. All that needs to be done is a little bit of customization to make sure that the app bears your brand language.

You can get in touch with an Uber clone app development company, and they will ensure that your taxi business for the new normal is launched successfully and in the shortest possible time.

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