Blacklane – Global Airport Chauffeur Service - Interview with the developer of a fantastic app

Did you have any prior development or coding experience?

Prior to joining Blacklane, I completed an online degree for iOS at Udacity, and both my bachelor's theses revolved around iOS apps. When I started working at Blacklane, I soon realized that working in a team is much different than solo projects. To quote one of my mentors, “Alone you go fast, together you go far.” What matters more than experience is the determination to learn and grow. I was reading iOS development books on weekends, pushing my limits, and aiming to be one of the top contributors to the project.

What was the most challenging aspect of developing mobile app?

Our app has been well received for nearly 10 years for booking chauffeured rides scheduled 30 minutes to months ahead of time. The majority of our rides were airport transfers. In March, we added chauffeur hailing for on-demand rides in select major cities including Berlin, Dubai, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and Singapore. This way, we can serve guests’ mobility needs inside cities as well as we do when they’re coming and going.

Because of the highly competitive mobility space for on-demand trips, we have to make the app as user-friendly as possible with a smooth UX. Take the live location feature for example. We spent more than a month making it precise. Our goal was to achieve a smooth movement when the car turns, goes between buildings, and drives where GPS is not accurate; all while avoiding draining the user’s 4G data.

Etjen Ymeraj is an iOS engineer with a passion for User Experience and has been working at Blacklane for 3 years. He is responsible for building features for both guest and chauffeur applications. In his spare time, he reads blogs to keep up with the latest trends and also new books to learn more about team culture. Building and scaling are part of his focus whether its apps or personal career growth. Etjen speaks 5 languages and holds an MSc at TU Berlin.

Name a few of your favorite apps and reason you love them.

Revolut is one of my main sources of inspiration. Each week, they publish an update with some new feature and I genuinely spend time on the app just looking around. What I love the most is its feature of a virtual card. This card details change the second you make a purchase. Other apps I like include ImmoScout24 due to its user-friendliness and TaxFix for the simplicity of doing your tax return in less than 30 min.

How long have you been working on this app?

I joined the company three years ago and have worked on both the guest and chauffeur app over that time.

What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?

It was essential to provide a seamless, intuitive, and elegant experience to our guests. Our physical experience provides peace of mind and reflects high-quality standards, so it’s only natural to extend that to the digital experience as well.

In what way do you think your app is better than similar apps on the market? Please describe in detail what innovation you think you bring and what you are proud of in your app.

I believe our product is extremely simple to use. For on-demand rides, we built a new infrastructure which was an enriching experience along with features like live location of the chauffeur and calculations of ETA (estimated time of arrival) which improved the overall experience of the app.

For scheduled rides, we take care of many small things behind the scenes, such as tracking flights and automatically adjusting your pickup time. This gives our guests and bookers, who are often different people, the peace of mind we promise and they deserve.

What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?

The chauffeur-hailing part of our app targets more inner-city and short-distance mobility. The next iterations will make meet and greets smoother for both guests and chauffeurs. In the longer term, we will give more options to book electric vehicles. We plan for 75% of rides to be in EVs by 2025, so we’ll need to highlight those in the app.

Assuming new users of your app are reading this page. What do you want to ask them to do (contact you about X, Share the app, etc.)?

We’d like them to download the app, try a chauffeur-hailing trip, and send us their feedback. As cities re-emerge from lockdowns, people need trusted local rides, and we want to be that service.

Blacklane – Global Airport Chauffeur Service

About App:

Blacklane provides professional ground transportation at the most competitive rates at 500+ airports and 300+ cities in 60+ countries around the globe. Whether traveling for business or leisure, book our private chauffeur service as your next transfer from the airport, hotel, or event, and skip the taxi lines.

Blacklane provides professional ground transportation at the most competitive rates at 500+ airports and 300+ cities in 60+ countries around the globe. Whether traveling for business or leisure, book our private chauffeur service as your next transfer from the airport, hotel, or event, and skip the taxi lines.

The Blacklane app allows you to book, pay for, and manage all your rides with just a few taps.

How it works:
* Book your ride at the touch of a button — schedule your black car driver service from one hour before pickup to months ahead of time.
* Book one-way transfers or reserve a driver by the hour to make multiple stops.
* Skip the taxi lines and have your personal chauffeur pick you up directly at the arrivals gate.
* Take your time and relax, as all airport pickups come with a whole hour of complimentary wait time.
* Choose your desired vehicle class: Business, Business Van/SUV, First Class, or Green Class.
* You can now book zero-emission rides in our service class of electric vehicles, the Green Class, in the following cities: Adelaide, Amsterdam, Auckland, Austin, Basel, Birmingham (U.K.), Brisbane, Denver, Dublin, Edinburgh, Geneva, Glasgow, Hobart, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Melbourne, Milan, Montpellier, Montreal, Munich, Paris, Phoenix, Queenstown, Seattle, Sydney, and Zurich.

* What you see is what you get. Our fixed rates include all taxes, tolls, fees, and tips — no surprises and no hidden fees.
* Receive instant ride updates via email and text message giving you the chauffeur’s contact information and arrival status.
* Cashless payment means you simply add a payment method, sit back, and relax knowing your rides are charged only after they've taken place.
* Enjoy peace of mind when you travel. Our flight tracking ensures that your chauffeur is there when you arrive, and if your plans change, we offer free changes or cancellation up to 1 hour before one-way transfers.
Download the app now and book our professional airport transfer service in seconds!

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Have questions or need support?
Email: [email protected]

Categories: Maps & Navigation

Date: April 22, 2021

Developer: Etjen Ymeraj

About developer: Etjen Ymeraj is an iOS engineer with a passion for User Experience and has b ... Read more



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