Driver App

The driver app is – as you might have guessed – used by drivers to navigate them from one uplift point to the next. Besides plain road navigation, it also keeps the driver up to date with who they are picking up/dropping off and when they should be at each uplift point by. The driver app is also important as it is the means by which the system records that passengers have boarded and alighted vehicles. What’s more, it reports the vehicle’s location to the system, which allows many of the most important features to work properly.

Downloading and Installing the Driver App

The driver app can be downloaded in a similar manner to the Admin App – from the Driver app tab of the getting started page on the management console. We covered downloading the driver app and getting it onto your Android tablet on the management console help page.

Once downloaded, you will need to install the downloaded .apk file. If you have trouble doing so, please read this page.

First Steps with the Driver App

When you first open the driver app, there is a short wizard with a few steps to follow. The steps are self-explanatory, but we’ll point out a couple of important bits.

Logging Permission

When first opened, the app will ask you if you grant it permission to send logging information from this app only to Simply Connect. The choice is yours but we recommend that you grant the logging permission. If you experience any difficulties using the app and need to contact us for help, the logs can help us locate the issue and assist you better.

Other Permissions

Depending on the version of Android you are running, you might be asked to grant additional permissions to the app. For example, the app might need to request permission to install applications. This is so that the application can update itself – since updating itself requires installing a new copy of itself. If the app needs to request permission to install applications, it might (depending on the version of Android) open the system settings for you so that you can grant the permission. Once you have granted permission, press back on your device to return to the driver app.

Licence code

When you run the driver app for the first time, it will ask you to enter your licence code. This is an eight-digit number (different to the licence code for the admin app) and you can find it in the driver app tab of the getting started page on the management console.

Updates

If an update to the application is available from Simply Connect, you will be prompted to install it. Some updates are immediately required; for others, you will receive an option to install the update now or at a later point in time. After an update has installed, the driver app will close and you might need to start it manually by tapping its icon on the home screen or list of apps.

Simulated Mode

Once the initial wizard has completed, you will see the login screen. The login screen is very self-explanatory, but it’s worthwhile drawing attention to one part: the “Sign in as simulated driver” button. This button allows you – as its name suggests – to sign in with a driver from the simulator rather than a regular driver. Simulated drivers and passengers do not have passwords and it is generally not possible to sign into the Simply Connect apps with a simulated user. However, the driver app offers an exception to this, because it can be highly useful when experimenting with the driver app to put it into so-called “simulated mode”.

Sign in with a normal driver’s credentials, or click “Sign in as simulated user”.
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When in simulated mode, the driver app will continually update its location from the logged in simulated driver’s position. The GPS, in simulated mode, will have no effect on the app. This is effectively working in reverse to normal – when the driver app would track the driver’s location and feed this to the system.

To sign in with a simulated user, click the button on the sign-in screen and click “Continue” on the explanation box that appears. Depending on your version of Android, you may be asked for permission to use the camera – please grant that permission. The camera permission is required because the mechanism of logging in as a simulated driver involves scanning a QR code from the simulator. You should see the camera open within the driver app.

To find the QR code to scan from the driver app, open the simulator within the management console. Find the simulated driver for whom you wish to sign in on the driver app, or create a simulated driver if none exist. Now look at the bottom right of the individual driver’s window within the simulator, and you should see four small buttons.

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How to find the driver app login QR code on the simulator

The right-most of these shows an icon of a mobile device – click this to show a QR code with which you can log in on the driver app as the simulated driver. Once you have the QR code open, point the driver tablet’s camera at the QR code on your computer screen. Note that the QR code has a short lifetime – if you take too long and it doesn’t work you might need to click cancel below the QR code and try again.

Normally, when a simulated passenger books a journey with a simulated driver, the simulator automatically boards and alights the passenger a few seconds after the vehicle has arrived.

When a simulated driver is logged in on the driver app, this behaviour does not happen. This is so that the driver can board or alight the passenger from the driver app as and when they want, or can alternatively use features such as indicating that the passenger missed the journey.

Once signed in, you will see the welcome screen. This screen tells the driver when their next or current shift starts and/or ends. Once the driver is on a shift, the “Start driving” button becomes available. This should happen automatically but you can press “Refresh” if you want.

Once signed in, you will see the welcome screen.
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The Driver App in Action

It’s time to see the driver app in action. If you’ve followed along with this tutorial, you should be able to log into both the management console and the admin app. Now do as follows:

By “try to encourage” above, we mean picking start and destination points for the journey that are close to the driver you want to use, and avoiding adding any restrictions that would make the vehicle unsuitable for the journey (such as adding a wheelchair requirement to the journey when your simulated driver does not have a wheelchair). This makes it likely that, in automated mode, the scheduling engine would pick the desired driver.

Depending on how you created the passenger, the passenger might or might not have a photo. If the passenger has a photo, it is shown to the driver in the list of upcoming uplift points and when the driver arrives at an uplift point.

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The simulated driver is heading along the road to the passenger’s pick-up point.

Once the driver reaches the pick-up point and stops, the app will open the boarding screen. A larger photo of the passenger will be shown (to help the driver identify the passenger), as well as information about whether the passenger has a wheelchair or requires a lift (to forewarn the driver when they might need to help the passenger board).

The boarding screen will also indicate whether (and how much) the passenger needs to pay on entering the vehicle. If the passenger needs to pay, the app will present options for what to do if the passenger is unable to pay.

The passenger due to board the vehicle must pay €1.43. Tap “paid in cash” to signify that the passenger has boarded and paid.
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This is all fine, but what if the driver sees the passenger slightly before the exact designated pick-up point? Or conversely, if the passenger is in the vehicle and asks to be dropped off slightly early? When the driver gets close to the pick-up and drop-off points, the passenger’s details in the list of uplift points turn orange and can be tapped to open the boarding/alighting page.

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Once the passenger’s name turns orange in the uplift list, the driver can tap it to open the boarding or alighting screen early.

What if the Passenger Doesn’t Arrive?

On the previous page, we offered some suggestions on handling passengers who are late for their pick-up. If a passenger is late or doesn’t arrive for their journey, the driver app allows a driver to record that they have missed their journey.

Once the boarding screen has opened, after a short delay a “Missed journey” button will appear. Tap this and confirm that the passenger has missed the journey, and the system will remove their journey, mark it as missed and give the driver instructions to the next uplift point.

A short time after the boarding screen opens, a “Missed” button appears.
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Congratulations!

This is the end of the Simply Connect tutorial. We hope you enjoyed exploring Simply Connect’s features. As always, if we can help you with anything, send us an email at info@simply-connect.com.