Android app for shuttle service – supports booking online and digital signage
Back in September 2015 i started to learn how to use App Inventor. I have built no Android app before so I was curious to know how they work. I can say now App Inventor is a good way to start … you can work on many features to be implemented in your app and you do it easy!
At the beginning i was focused on regular features like getting photos ( querying Google Drive), make some screen about company services and post own photos via Google authentication. But my ultimate goal was to create an online booking service specifically designed for the shuttle service to the mountain bike.
I searched the internet programs or services that supported APIs and I finally found what I was looking for … Booked Scheduler !
Booked scheduler is a great PHP-based program to manage booking online and it supports API. It has a lot of features and it is possible to write scripts to expand services.
It took a lot of work to complete the app because I had to implement controls on user creation, on reservations (for example blocking the ability to register multiple times for the same shuttle), the extension of the user’s needs (mountain bike wheels 29, tandem, bikes for children), the ability to book for more people. On a technical level the app supports error handling, prior verification of the Internet connection, check the duplication of users with the same email, management of dozens of shuttle available the same day.
In April, the app has been completed and includes the following functions:
- Multilingual management (italian, german and english) all texts are translated into three languages and the user can at any time choose a different language
- Choosing the username to manage the various features (username will be unique and stored on database)
- Choosing the type of mountain bike (26, 27.5 and 29 wheel, tandem, kid-bike, fat bike because they affect transportation)
- The news page is managed by the company to publish press or warnings
- Presentation page of the company. It includes company data, the services offered, the link to Google Maps to guide you to the company headquarters.
- Pages trails served by the company. Every path is described in detail with altimetry, downloadable maps, type of mountain bike recommended, photos of the path.
- Booking page. Ability to create a new user, the login management, research and display of the shuttles available to date, reservation for one or more bikers, the shuttle booking by sending user data (type of bike), display the performed and possible cancellation reservations .
- Photo viewing and sending new ones. Photos are stored on Google Drive and need authentication (Google account)
- Links to corporate videos and visualization with youtube
When the app was completed I decided to create a complete system with monitor display of the available shuttles. I searched the internet a program that could help me in this and found Xibo. This great freeware software can visualize on monitor all the informations (text, foto, video) and I added pages to see the uploaded photos on app and the list of the shuttles available with the destination information, time and number of the shuttle (implemented with the number of free / reserved seating places, names of registered users, etc).
As soon as the company adds shuttle these are updated on the app and on the monitor … Much less work for employees 🙂
We developed a tracking system for users of the app (can be activated at the user’s choice) to make it viewable on the company monitor the position of bikers on the trails. It also handle the ability of the rider to report a fault or an emergency (different icons on the monitor)
Bits from Italy at the moment does not make public the app software and integrated system of booking.
Bike Shuttle Torbole app – Android app described in this article
Bike Shuttle Torbole company – Company offering the shuttle service in the area of Lake Garda (Italy)
App Inventor – software used to create the app
Booked scheduler – booking software run by the app