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HomeCloud ComputingHow LINE GO enables smooth, localized ride-hailing with Google Maps Platform

How LINE GO enables smooth, localized ride-hailing with Google Maps Platform

Editor’s note: Today’s blog post comes from Kevin Chan, Co-Founder & CEO, LINE GO and Hayden Huang, Co-Founder & CTO, LINE GO. LINE GO, a ride-hailing company in Taiwan, uses Google Maps Platform to enhance the convenience of its ride-hailing services and drivers’ work efficiency.

Ride-hailing applications are popular in Taiwan, but not all of them are able to perfectly meet local users’ and drivers’ needs. At LINE GO, we’ve been working on maximizing the convenience of our ride-hailing services by enabling localized features.

In 2019, we started providing our ride-hailing service through LINE, the most popular messaging app in Taiwan, through a chatbot. This has not only greatly simplified the ride-hailing process that we offer, but it also set us apart from our competitors, since LINE GO is the only ride-hailing service available on the messaging platform. To help drivers build prosperous and sustainable careers, we also offer lower partnership fees and enable shorter idle time through meticulous dispatch planning. Six years after our launch, we’ve accumulated 13,000 partner drivers and 3.5 million member users across Taiwan. In October 2023, LINE GO expanded our business and launched a one-stop platform that offers comprehensive mobility services ranging from ride-hailing and car rentals to airport taxis.

Kevin Chan, Co-Founder & CEO, LINE GO

With the aim of providing the best-possible service, we looked for the most advanced geospatial technology when building our service. Google Maps Platform stood out during our evaluation process because it delivered 20% higher ETA accuracy than the alternatives we considered, offers geolocation tools to support our development of new features, and frequently updates location information.

Supporting quick and easy ride planning

Our customers rely on the ETAs displayed in our service to ensure that they reach their destination on time, so we need to calculate ETAs as accurately as possible. By considering factors such as current traffic and road closures, the Distance Matrix API helps us provide ETAs that are closest to real arrival times, building customer trust. Our users can better plan their schedules when traveling during rush hours in bustling big cities.

Hayden Huang, Co-Founder & CTO, LINE GO

To make it easier to place a ride order, we use the Places API to support quick location searches in our service with the Autocomplete feature. When a user inputs an address or a place name, a list of relevant location suggestions instantly pops up. Since the location information from Google Maps Platform is constantly updated, our users can easily find pickup or dropoff locations in our service, including newly opened restaurants.

Enhancing convenience and driver dispatch efficiency

The highly accurate ETAs generated by Distance Matrix have helped us achieve even more. Our users and drivers used to rely solely on in-taxi meters to calculate ride fares, making it challenging to integrate payment with our digital ride-hailing system. In 2019, we started to provide an option to pay precalculated fares directly in our service to promote digital payment. At first, we frequently received driver complaints that the precalculated rates were underestimated due to unforeseen factors such as traffic jams. To gain the drivers’ trust, we began to calculate ride fares based on the most optimal route generated by Distance Matrix and then offer the planned route to drivers using the Directions API. The number of reports about inaccurate precalculated rates has since decreased by 30%

Hayden Huang, Co-Founder & CTO and Kevin Chan, Co-Founder & CEO, LINE GO

Our effort to streamline drivers’ work doesn’t stop there. Before early 2023, we used to assign ride orders to drivers that were nearest to the pickup locations based on straight-line distance. This practice was not always ideal, because drivers could take a longer time to arrive than expected if there were rivers or barricades along the way. To help us address this, we worked with Google Cloud partner Master Concept to implement a new dispatch mechanism that identifies the nearest drivers based on ETAs produced by Distance Matrix. We’ve now reduced dispatch issues resulting from imprecise ETA calculations for routes involving viaducts or bridges by 90%, enhancing our driver dispatch efficiency.

Heading towards greater mobility convenience

We’re constantly improving the ride-hailing experiences for passengers and the working conditions for drivers. One pain point we’re now addressing is that to follow the most optimal route suggested by Directions in our service, our drivers need to switch to the Google Maps consumer app for navigation. To deliver a smoother user experience and enhance driver safety, we’ll leverage Mobility services to enable in-app navigation so our drivers will have access to everything they need, all within our service.

With its highly accurate geolocation information and extensive features, Google Maps Platform empowers us to offer an excellent user experience to both passengers and drivers through continuous service improvement. Our achievements encourage us to bring our services to the next level and realize greater mobility convenience for more people.

For more information on Google Maps Platform, visit our website.

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