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How to Develop Taxi Service like Uklon?

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Alexander Safonov
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Uklon is the first and most significant Ukrainian ride-sharing taxi service. Furthermore, Uklon is a vivid example of how a local company can successfully compete with giant enterprises that work on the global market. This article will show how the Ukrainian startup withstands significant competitors. Also, it will tell how to develop a taxi service like the Uklon application.

A brief Uklon description

Uklon company derived in 2009 from Evos, who was a typical example of a traditional taxi service. Initially, they planned to develop a service that inherited the existing market from its predecessor. Yet, the user analysis showed that this initiative would not be backed up by support. So, they’ve launched an online platform offering rides to Ukrainian citizens as a brand-new service.

They’ve done it even before the Uber beta version; hence, the Uklon company representatives claim that Uklon is not an Uber clone, yet vice-versa, they are pioneers in the market. However, the fact is that the Ukrainian platform implemented only online taxi calling, while Uber drastically changed the traditional taxi service business models.

Ukrainian Uklon taxi service founders

Ukrainian Uklon taxi service founders. Left to right – Serhii Smus, Dmytro Dubrovskii, Viktoria Dubrovska, Vitalii Diatlenko. Source

Nonetheless, Uklon offered a faster and more comfortable search for drives compared to traditional taxi services that worked via dispatch control centers. Therefore, they reach developers rapidly and even attempt to enter the global market. Still, in 2012 the development speed reduced, and in four years, Uklon almost went bankrupt since Uber entered the Ukrainian taxi service market in 2016.

As Uklon’s founder shared, Uber did much damage to them:

  • American startups didn’t want to cooperate with traditional taxi companies (unlike Uklon). Uber collaborated directly with the drivers.
  • Uber launched an influential marketing company and involved influencers like Vitalii Klychko, Kyiv's mayor and boxer. Furthermore, the press made numerous publications on Uber, thus, promoting it for free.
  • Moreover, the American competitor offered many beneficial incentives for drivers. For instance, they paid for being online and launched new services like Car Fleets, hence reimagining the idea of the local taxi company.
It helped Uber to capture ⅓ of Kyiv’s market in half a year, and Uklon faced the prospect of financial ruin. It stimulated the Ukrainian company to take several critical steps for survival. First, the brand stopped the Evos taxi service and directed all resources to Uklon. Second, the Ukrainian platform has begun to work directly with the drivers. Third, Uklon updated the functionality of their application, left only the most valuable functions, and compiled them according to competitors’ best practices (basically analyzing Uber). Thus, Uklon became almost a complete clone of its primary competitor – Uber.

Furthermore, Uklon invested several times more resources in marketing (before Uber in Ukraine, Uklon didn’t bother much about marketing). The company reinforced its PR department and cooperated with young TikTokers and Instagram bloggers. New strategies helped them to grow two-fold more compared to 2009. The company actively promoted new functions like ‘’Security overwatch’’ that enabled users to blocklist the drivers they do not like and use the SOS button under extreme circumstances during a ride.

The number of times Monobank users ordered a taxi

The number of times Monobank (Ukrainian neobank) users ordered a taxi. Source
The functionality updates and marketing efforts helped Uklon to remain the leader in the Ukrainian market up to 2018, when another competitor – Bolt, entered the market. Uklon gradually lost its influence in the following years until Bolt captured the TOP-1 position. Now Uklon is on the TOP-3 list of taxi services in Ukraine.

How to develop an Uklon analog?

As it’s clear with the Ukrainian services and its successful competition with Uber (borrowing booming solutions and functions and excellent marketing), we can proceed with the instructions on developing your analog in Ukraine.

The market and target niche

First, you have to determine what platform for taxi services you want to offer to the market. It will require not only copying an Uklon-like application and the services, yet launching other services based on the Ukrainian startup business model. Here are several niches you may use for your benefit:
  • Small-tonnage cargo transportations;
  • Car-sharing service;
  • Ordering large and medium-sized passenger buses;
  • On-demand delivery app;
  • Employee transportation application.
Moreover, if your project focuses on a broad market, you can consider niched taxi services, like taxis for children, e-taxi of premium class, car-sharing services for women, etc. Thus, your service will stand out among the others, which can give significant bonuses in personalized marketing.

It’s advisable to start with a pilot project in one or several significant cities. It allows testing the idea and technology on a relatively small audience (it will reduce the reputation risk if the project fails) and with a smaller budget. If it works, you can think of a further expansion.

Uklon company business-model

Next, you will have to decide upon the business model and monetization. Uklon now uses the same business model as Uber. The taxi service doesn’t have its fleet of cars; it’s a public platform that any driver who meets the requirements can use to provide a taxi service. Uklon allows clients to order a car or sit with another passenger to save money on the ride. The communication between the passenger (client) and the driver (service supplier) is via the mobile application without calls and text messages. The client uses the application to set the departure and arrival points while the platform plans the route and finds a driver. Passengers can refuse a car if they dislike the condition, rating, or driver’s behavior. Also, the platform processes the payment.

Uklon and similar applications gain revenue via:

  • Charging fees from passengers. You can make money by charging a service fee of 10-25% of the total amount from the passengers. It can be either a fixed price (for instance, a payment on the transaction or a commission for the order and each ride kilometer) or an adjustable system where the fee depends on the traffic, daytime, duration, and driver availability.
  • A service fee. Another solution is a fixed fee for booking and paying the reserved car for the client or company and additional service fees like a representative car, security, payment processing, and cancellation fees (this can serve as a penalty and protection against "spamming" the reservation).
  • You can cooperate with famous brands like Oyo, Pepsi, or Spotify to make money on promotions. It can be external ads (on the car) or ads within the cal (journals, booklets, etc.).
  • Cost per click. Some applications use CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per mile) monetization models and demonstrate advertisements within their applications.

Roles and functions of taxi applications

Uklon is not a single application; it includes three services for three user roles: applications for passengers and drivers and one for administration and analysis. You will need these three applications for your Uklon analog too. Here is the detailed description.

Passengers (clients). These are users who use your platform to call a taxi. They will need a mobile application, so no desktop version is necessary. Optionally, you may create a landing page for service description, feedback, and uploading the mobile application.

Here is the list of essential functions for passengers.

  • Sign-in and sign-up functions. The users will register to your application via a phone number, email, or Google or Facebook account. You may ask users to share their data (name, photo, address, etc.). It will help to identify users if they break the rules of your service (for instance, swear and fight with the driver and passengers).
  • Passenger account. The users create an account on your platform. They will need to adjust it and introduce changes; for instance, change the name, surname, photo, or address. They also need a dark or white theme, security settings, and privacy control.
  • Payment methods. You will also need to integrate several payment methods into your Uklon analog. The list of methods depends on the country and region where your online platform services. These are bank cards, PayPal, and approximately ten local payment systems.
  • Tracing the passenger's location via GPS will significantly facilitate calling a taxi since the user will not need to spend time sharing their coordinates. They only call a car to their current location in one click. It’s easy and fast.
  • Calling a taxi. This is the essential function of your application. It allows the passenger to call a taxi and indicate the destination. Moreover, the passengers can check the price and change the route.
  • The system matches the passenger’s location to the nearest driver. The matching process will involve all cars or those that meet specific criteria like rating about 4.5 – 5 stars, vehicles with a large trunk, or four available seats.
  • Reviewing the drivers. The system offers the passenger to select a particular driver. The client sees the information on the car, driver, and feedback.
  • This function shows the car's location and automatically estimates the car's arrival time. Also, this section offers to cancel the call or change the address.
  • Online payments. This function allows the passengers to pay in one click. Furthermore, they can check there and view the price details (kilometers and coefficients that change the price).
  • The platform sends push-notification to the passenger’s device to inform them that the taxi is approaching, the order status has changed, charging money, updating the platform, etc.
Taxi drivers. This platform will work for the drivers. It also requires application implementation and a landing with info on the requirements for drivers and registration rules.

Here is the list of the application's primary functions for passengers:

  • Sign in and sign up. In addition to creating a profile, driver registration in online cab services, such as Uklon, also involves verifying identity, car, driver's license, and other things. It is necessary to confirm the driver's qualifications and the condition and safety of his car.
  • Driver account. Taxi drivers can add or change information in their account; for instance, change the name, phone number, details on the car, years of driving experience, typical working time, etc.
  • It allows the driver to understand the passenger’s location with the help of built-in navigation via Google Map API or analog instruments. The passenger also receives precise information on the driver’s location.
  • The drivers see the list of available orders with detailed information, for instance, the pick-up and drop-off points, the number of passengers, the urgency of an order, the requirements for cars, etc.
  • This function allows the driver to approve the car’s order, wait for the passenger’s approval, or cancel the order.
  • It provides information on the ride.
Business owners. The administration panel allows the owners and employees to manage the taxi service and adjust its work. It is a desktop application or web interface that runs on internet browsers.

The functions:

  • Login, registration, profile.
  • Manage administrators' roles.
  • Management of drivers' profiles (information about them).
  • Manage passengers' profiles (information about them).
  • Manage orders and order history.
  • Manage the payment system.
  • Content management.

Architecture and technology stack

Project architecture. This step of application development requires creating the technical and informational architecture of the project. The technical architecture is the list of system elements and their interaction. The information architecture (navigation map) is the structure of user streams on the upcoming platform.

The taxi service architecture system

The taxi service architecture system. Source

Technology stack. Also, you or your development team will need to pick the optimal technology stack, the development tools, and other things developers will use when creating your Uklon counterpart. It should be a technology stack for backend and frontend development for the web interface and mobile app.

The technology stack for Uklon development:

  • Application and Data: Python, jQuery, HTML5, NGINX, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, TypeScript, AngularJS, Redis, CSS 3, Firebase, ASP.NET, Google Cloud Platform, Kafka, RabbitMQ, Microsoft SQL Server, Flask, Swift Kotlin, Scala, .NET, Airflow.
  • DevOps: Docker, GitLab, Jenkins, Kubernetes, Ansible, Gradle, Grafana, Istio, ELK.
  • Utilities: Google Analytics, Google Maps, Elasticsearch, Kubeflow.
  • Business Tools: Slack, Jira, Confluence.
By the way, Uber made its API public recently, so you can use it to launch your taxi service or expand your current business opportunities; for example, integrate home delivery service if you own a restaurant or bar.

System development process

When all decisions are made, and all requirements for the platform are clear, the development team starts the design creation and uses it as a basement for the front end (user interface for three roles). The technical architecture is the basement for the backend (server part and API).

Testing the application

Testing is the system and components evaluation process that helps determine whether the application meets the requirements. Put simply, testing is finding issues, gaps, and inconsistencies that contradict the actual needs and identifying missing requirements.

Platform launch

After thorough testing, the application goes from the work environment to the production environment; it arrives at Google Play, App Store, Amazon App Store, and Microsoft Store listing. You can describe it and add several application screenshots with particular functions to familiarize the users with the application and increase their chances of downloading it.

The cost of developing an Uklon clone

The difficulty, functionality, design, platform features, and integration you select will determine the price and development duration. Here is an approximate estimation of developers’ efforts in hours for three Uklon interfaces.

Cost of developing an Uklon clone


How to Develop Taxi Service like Uklon? key takeaways:
  1. A brief Uklon description
  2. How to develop an Uklon analog?
  3. The market and target niche
  4. Uklon company business-model
  5. Roles and functions of taxi applications
  6. Architecture and technology stack
  7. System development process
  8. Testing the application
  9. Platform launch
  10. The cost of developing an Uklon clone
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