If you are thinking about becoming a rideshare driver, you will need two important tools to get started: a car and a reliable digital mapping and navigation system. Ride hail and rideshare companies typically provide in-built GPS navigation tools for their drivers. Uber’s navigation tool, for instance, is available via the Driver App.
While in-built GPS systems offer a high level of convenience, many drivers can access more useful features, and more efficiency in some cases, by installing third-party GPS apps in their smartphones. Many of the popular navigation apps offer an assortment of great features, including closure warnings, real-time traffic routing, and even projected traffic-flow simulations.
Most of these apps are user-friendly with intuitive interfaces and the capability for dynamic voice commands, which facilitate safety and ease-of-use. Two popular smartphone GPS apps for rideshare drivers are Google Maps and Waze.
This is the most popular navigation tool in the world today. It is the most sophisticated mapping tool available, and a great asset for any rideshare driver, in addition to the in-built navigation system.
Google Maps was launched in 2007, after Garmin and TomTom, but Google’s heavy investment in R&D saw the system eventually emerge as the industry leader in digital navigation. Google Maps uses an active navigation approach that takes traffic dynamics and road closures into account when calculating the fastest and alternative routes.
So, Google Maps gives you all the information you need, including the estimated trip duration for each route, as well as the option for re-routing en route. You will be able to view every lane on a highway, and get notified when approaching an off-ramp.
As good as Google Maps is, Waze is more comprehensive in terms of overall traffic and location information, which is why it is becoming increasingly popular among rideshare and ride-booking drivers. In fact, it recently got into a partnership with Lyft, Uber’s biggest rival. You can find out more information about the two ride hauling giants on https://www.ridester.com/.
Waze was purchased by Google in 2013 for close to one billion dollars, which explains the many similar features between Waze and Google Maps. Still, many drivers claim that Waze has superior traffic-routing capabilities compared to Google Maps. While Google Maps is sometimes slow to load, Waze offers exceptional loading speed and efficiency, allowing real-time re-routing. The navigation system also has an exceptionally fast search functionality that displays results in just four seconds.
Perhaps the biggest reason to install Waze in your smartphone is the app’s ability to “log’ and “remember’ reported traffic incidents, such as traffic blockages and street closures. As a rideshare driver working in a specific region and using the same roads over the course of a single day or night, you will appreciate the ability of Waze to actively remember all reported problem areas, without requiring you to re-input the incident repeatedly, and adjust its routes accordingly.
Waze does not, however, offer lane assistance, plus it can be hard to zoom-in at the active lanes. Both of these are features that Google Maps offers exceedingly well.
Other Smartphone GPS Apps
You should also be aware that there are both online and offline GPS systems, with the latter allowing you to find your way around even when outside the range of a cellular provider. Notable options include Sygic, Navigon, and Navmii.