Bolt. Airport shuttle services

Bolt, 2019

I took part in Bolt's challenge to integrate airport shuttle services into the current mobile taxi application.

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Screenshots with task description

First of all, I have to understand the problem. I have to be sure why, for whom, and what we making. The brief is high level, so I would prefer to ask the questions about the Problem to the Team. But since I didn't have this opportunity, I have done my research.

Let’s go!

Research

I have made a Google form and requested familiar people who travel a lot to answer questions about the transfer to/from the airport. (It's not an accurate source of truth, but I have limited resources and a 4-8h time frame, so better than no real people). I interviewed 13 people from 5 countries. Different genders, marital status, and income level. 25-35 yo.

Polls result:

Travels last year:

10+ times: 38.5%

8 times: 7.7%

6 times: 7.7%

5 times: 7.7%

4 times: 38.5%

What transport did you use during your travels to/from the airport?

 

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What transport did you go to/from the airport?
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What is the criterion for choosing a transfer to/from the airport for you?
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Have you encountered difficulties finding a bus, buying tickets, ordering a taxi, and so on?
  • I ordered another service.
  • There were no such difficulties, only sometimes it’s hard to find the car you ordered since there are usually many cars around in the parking lot and lines.
  • It is very difficult to call a taxi in a new country when your taxi app is not suitable / does not work in this country.
  • A shuttle is late at night, and the ticket office is already closed. therefore I looked for tickets online.
  • If the country is not in the Eurozone, then everything is complicated.
  • If you don’t turn on roaming, it’s hard to catch a taxi by Wi-Fi, because when you leave the territory of the airport, Wi-Fi is turned off. After such cases, I always turn on roaming in advance now
  • In Ukraine, as a rule, there is no problem getting to the airport using the Uklon application. In another country, I usually rent a car immediately at the airport. Therefore, I have not recently come across public transport infrastructure.
Were there any problems on the way to the airport? For example, traffic jams, incorrectly calculated time, etc.
  • Traffic jams (few answers)
  • Weather
  • There were no particular problems with this, I always left early
  • You don’t know whether the shuttle entered, but everyone is silent as partisans))
What would motivate you to use an Airport Shuttle instead of a taxi/car?
  • Time-saving
  • Price
  • Mostly when I have heavy luggage, if the road is long, if I am very tired.
  • The shuttle is cooler than a taxi when the site is simple and there is an online order. Some shuttles are NOT allowed to buy tickets online. True story!
  • Exact shuttle travel schedule. Confidence that I am not late.
  • If it was at the price of Uber (and usually it turns out 2 times more expensive).
  • If it could take me close to the house and lead to the airport terminal - I would try.
  • The cost of the service, the opportunity to book your trip in advance online.
Insides from the web:

"If you are anything like most people, you land at an airport with one thought: Get me out of here. And if you’ve touched down in the past six years, chances are you fled with the help of Uber, Lyft, or one of their competitors. When they first arrived on the airport scene, ride-hailing companies undercut cab prices in many major airports by about a third. They were quicker than most public transit options if those options even existed.

Everything was great.

Then came the traffic." Wired

"LAX bans Uber and Lyft from picking up passengers at the terminal." The Verge

"No More Curbside Pickups for Uber & Lyft at SFO" SuperShuttle home page (Airport Shuttle provider)

"Uber drivers attacked outside Mexico City airport" The Guardian

"I had heard Uber simply wasn’t allowed at the airport. Technically, that’s true. When I read that a taxi to Legian was only 55,000 rupiah (less than 5 USD), it didn’t seem like an issue. However, the official fares just doubled, and it wasn’t too long ago they doubled again. 10 USD isn’t a terrible price for tourists to pay, but this move isn’t keeping up with inflation or petrol prices; it’s a blatant attempt to squeeze visitors’ wallets. Once I saw that the taxi fare had increased, I tried to call an Uber using the wifi from the Starbucks near the domestic terminal.

Everything seemed to be going well; I could select the domestic drop-off area as a pickup zone and was given the driver’s details. When the car approached, I realized just how obvious it was I was waiting for an Uber: the phone was in my hand with the app open, and I was a white face being picked up by an unofficial vehicle. Security waved the car away and told me Uber wasn’t allowed. He tried to get me into a taxi, but, being fed up with taxi drivers overcharging me and relentlessly yelling to get fares, I decided to try again.

I went back to Starbucks and put in a trip request. Though I couldn’t change the pickup location, I was careful to approach the domestic terminal against traffic and position myself at the very end of the drop-off area. The driver found me without a problem, and I jumped into his car before security spotted me."

Dangerous to Use Uber in Bali? - onceatraveler.com

"Super Shuttle from my house to LGA is looking like $85 ... a scheduled uberXL ride is $32 ... my only fear is that I won't be able to fit all the luggage in the Uber w/ my family of 5 ..." TripAdvisor

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Summarising

What people need:
  • To be at the Airport in time
  • Leave the Airport as fast as possible
What people prefer:
  • To use app-based taxi services
Why?
  • From pickup to destination
  • Good price/service
  • Easy to order
  • Easy to pay
  • 24/7
What problems people have:
  • It isn't easy to request a taxi from the airport
  • It isn't easy to find the requested taxi near the airport
  • There could be higher prices than the shuttle
  • Weather, traffic, and time of the day affect spending time and price. No schedule, and no guaranteed arrival time.
  • It can be difficult to fit all the luggage or will be necessary to order the most expensive car
What problem does Bolt have:
  • Forbidden zones near airports (a growing trend)
  • Cars spend a lot of time in traffic (hypothetical)
  • Aggressive classic-taxi drivers
What benefits from Airport Shuttle:
  • It is integrated with the airport's infrastructure.
  • Schedule
  • Less chance of being late
  • In general lower price
  • A place for luggage
What are the weaknesses of the Airport shuttle:
  • Difficult to buy tickets (ticket office can be closed at night, another currency, another language)
  • Difficult to find the right shuttle (weak navigation, another language)
  • The shuttle moves you from the airport, but not exactly where you want to go

Solution

Based on research it makes sense to integrate Airport Shuttles into the App:
  • Helps to leave the airport for users
  • New users for Bolt
  • Helps to solve the traffic problem for the airports
  • More sold shuttle service tickets
How it can be done:
  • It has to be existing Airport Shuttle providers to start. In the future, it could be discussed to add Bold-branded Shuttles, but start with them not looks doesn’t look realistic.
  • It means integration to the app should be flexible.
  • It can be different buses, trains, and even boats (Airport Marco Polo VCE uses water taxi), It would be great to have different icons and illustrations for each brand. There can be a few different shuttle providers in the airport, should be clear which one ours.
  • Different providers can use different tickets — QR, barcodes, just numbers. It makes sense to support different types of tickets to integrate with each provider's system natively. Providers will be more interested in cooperation with Bolt if they will have to do less.
  • In-door navigation should be added to perform a user to the shuttle. Ticket and instructions should work offline, the internet can be disconnected at any second (would be great to have offline navigation inside/near the airport too)
  • Airport Shuttles are not the usual pattern in Bolt App, so I think it can't be added just as a transport type. So how can it work?
  1. We can show a system popup to the user at the airport.
  2. Also, we can make an AD at the airport. Near the luggage, somewhere where people are waiting, but inside wifi coverage. It can be a short description + QR code with a short link, something like get.bolt.com/rix (Riga International Airport), the link will redirect inside the app.
  3. Or if the user will open the app yourself.

In all these cases we will show the card with an offer to order the ticket.

The price should be the same as in the ticket office (would be great even cheaper, but I do not believe it's possible). If it’s impossible to save the same price we have to compensate for the difference as a credit to bonus account Bolt.

It would be great to create a combined route: you can choose your final destination, and the Bolt driver will see your progress in the shuttle and pick you up from the shuttle station (train station, bus station). While you are choosing an airport destination the app will offer to pick you up and move to the shuttle.

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Process

Implementation

I have made user flows for 3 cases:

  1. The user arrived at the Airport
  2. The user launching the app in the Airport
  3. The user looking for a car to the Airport

How it works is shown in the Figma below:

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