Uber Explained: Avoiding Surges

What is a surge?

A Surge is when there are more riders requesting rides than drivers than can provide transportation.

Why does Uber do surges?

If they start to get a lot of requests that they don’t have enough drivers to fulfill, they have to try to rebalance the supply and demand. The way they do this is by raising the price of the rides to lower the demand by bringing it closer to the number of drivers available. This is not something they like to do and they spend lots of money trying to avoid this.

What does it mean for drivers?

Each surge will tell the driver how much extra they’ll get paid if they take the request. In some cases it’s a 1.5x surge or 2x surge, etc. Drivers love this, we love extra money. Though as soon as Uber posts the surges, it updates in our driver app and we can see where in the city the surge exists. Drivers then converge upon those areas and within no time the surge disappears because supply increased.

What does it mean for the rider?

Riders will be notified before they book the ride that they are in a surge area and will be required to pay a certain multiple more. In some cases only 1.5x, in others 2x, and worst case 3x.

Tips & tricks for avoiding surges?

Surges are specific to an area. In some cases, if you’re on the edge of the surge zone and you’re willing to walk to meet your driver, you can pick a non-surge address. The catch – you need to be there at the other address before you request your driver to not risk getting a cancellation for no-show.

The hard part is how to figure out where the surge boundary is. As a rider you have no visibility. Though if you move your pick up pin to a couple locations you know you can easily walk too and you see the surge amount change, then you have narrowed down your best pickup area.

Hope this helps,
Sara

PS – if you’re interested in joining Uber, you can use my link to get a sign-on bonus: https://partners.uber.com/i/sarac13944ui

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