Make More Money During Uber Surge Times

Cars sitting in traffic

Despite your best efforts, you missed out on surge pricing the last time it hit your area. Bummer!

Now, you are likely wondering how you can ensure you don’t miss the next one.

This often happens due to the sporadic nature of surge prices and especially if you aren’t prepared for it.

In case you are not familiar with it, surge pricing is a unique and profitable time frame for rideshare drivers. When rideshare businesses activate the surge, it encourages more drivers to get on the road to meet rider demand.

This ensures there are enough drivers ready to go when an influx of people request rides. We’re diving into the fine details that make up these periods and how you can get ready to make the most of them the next time they strike.

Contents:


What is Surge Pricing?

As we mentioned above, this pricing occurs when there is a high demand for rides but not enough drivers. Riders must pay more for Uber rides, while drivers take home a higher fare during peak times.

When the Uber surge pricing is on, the demand for drivers is alive and well in an area near you.

Since companies like Uber and Lyft want to ensure passengers can get a ride, they reward drivers for picking up trips in the area with higher fares.

Rideshare companies highlight areas in need of drivers, better known as the surge area, on the app’s map. The surge areas are color-coded based on driver demand. The darker shades represent the highest need for drivers.

This neat feature also makes it easy for drivers to see how big the bonus is for driving in that location is, too. Depending on how many passengers are in need of a ride, this period can be very profitable for Uber drivers.

This pricing is an easy way to increase your profits. The higher the multiplier or percentage, the more money you can generate from each trip. This is great considering you can boost your average profits without changing anything.

Things are quite a bit busier in areas that are experiencing a surge. From traffic jams and bad weather to crowds of people attending major events.

It’s a good idea not only to be physically ready but mentally prepared for these busy times as well.

Since things are so hectic during these times, drivers can make a lot of extra cash for their efforts. For more information about how surge pricing works, check out this Ridester article.


Finding Surge Areas

There are a bunch of different ways to find out when and where surge areas are likely to happen. On a basic level, drivers only need to look at the app’s map to find out when the surge is happening.

Another easy method is to turn on surge notifications.

Beyond the entry-level surge awareness techniques, drivers can expect when a surge is going to happen by researching on their own.

Take note of busy times where people are out and about. This includes popular bar areas, restaurants, parks, and other venues. Usually, when this occurs, people will seek out easy solutions on how to get to and from the event venue.

Rideshare drivers can usually bank on a surge happening while people are traveling to and from these places. This is why we recommend keeping tabs on your city.

Also, find out about when big events are coming to your city. This includes big-name concerts, music festivals, sports games, and conventions.

As you browse through community calendars and social media, take note of events coming to your town that are big enough to warrant a surge. We recommend using a calendar to note when each of these activities is happening.

By doing this, you can reduce the odds of missing out on the surge by scheduling your work week around when the events are set to take place.

Inclement weather can also bring on Surge rates because fewer drivers will want to venture out on the streets. If you have a capable car, you can make a ton of money by firing up the driver app and getting to work. If it’s snowing on a Saturday night, you’ve hit the gold mine.

Driving during these times can be super profitable, so it’s worth venturing out into traffic even if things are a bit hectic.

These active and profitable times occur before and after events take place.

Although surge is worth your time in most cases, if you aren’t prepared for tackling the peak periods, it might not be worth it. For example, say you get a notification that surge is happening.

The multiplier is the highest you have ever seen, and you are ready to chase it. You open the app map to locate where surge is going on. To your dismay, it is all the way across town. When this occurs, it can be very tempting to drive many miles to reach that location and try to grab a ride. It’s not recommended you do this.

More than likely by the time you get there surge will be over. Meaning you drove all the way out there, wasted gas and time for nothing.

See, when a lot of drivers head out to the same spot, the app picks up on that. As the demand for drivers decreases, the surge then expires.

Due to this, it is not worth chasing surge areas if you are not prepared or nearby before it hits. Instead of conducting the rookie mistake of chasing surge, try to hang out in areas away from the chaos.

More than likely, new drivers will be making a mad dash for the surge area, leaving other locations in need of drivers. This is where you benefit.

Remember, every driver can see the dark red surge areas where they are needed the most. If you are nearby, chances are you can grab a ride. If you are not, do not bother.

There will be more opportunities for making fast, easy cash in the surrounding areas everyone has vacated.

Your best bet for riding the wave is to create a schedule that puts you in the thick of it when major events are taking place in your area. Besides major events, staying near the business district at 5 o’clock rush hour in big cities like Chicago or New York is another sure fire way to pick up some good fares.

Key locations include popular bars or busy areas of town. Whichever trend you can pick up on via your research, capitalize on it. Outside of this planning tactic, resist the urge to chase surge and instead remain in the outskirts where things are less hectic.


What Should I do During a Surge?

Now that you know how to navigate peak periods let’s discuss how to approach these times. The number one thing to remember is how different things will be on the road compared to a typical day.

Things could be intense. There will be traffic, road rage, and a handful of irritated passengers.

To prepare for this chaotic time, make sure your car is ready to go. Check your tire pressure and other fluids. Fill up your gas tank. Make sure you have plenty of snacks, water, and tunes on board.

Then, add a bit more for yourself since you will likely get hungry while sitting in traffic. If it is cold out, bring warm coffee and hand warmers. The idea is to be ready for anything, including sitting at a standstill for an extended period.

While you are out driving, identify the best way to get in touch with your passengers. When picking up passengers in a busy area, it can be challenging to find the right person.  Make things easier by contacting with your riders when you are close. Never assume they know where you are.

Try texting your passengers if you are parked, otherwise, call them. Work out a location you can both easily get to, then suggest meeting there. Other people will use the same logic, which can still result in a mix-up. To avoid this, try meeting up a bit further away from the venue without taking up too much of the passenger’s time and effort.

Be sure to describe your vehicle to make it easier for passengers to spot you. If necessary, as your passenger what color shirt or coat they are wearing so you can see them. Make sure you are polite about it.

Of course, if your riders have been drinking during the venue, communication will be a bit tough. Take the time to work with the passengers. Be courteous, patient, and never lose your temper.

Related: Navigating Bar Closing Times as a Rideshare Driver

Once they are in the vehicle, offer water or snacks to reduce the odds of them getting sick while in the car. Furthermore, contemplate keeping a puke bucket in your trunk for such an occasion. That way if your riders do feel themselves getting sick, you are ready.

Other than these common issues, your rideshare operation will run as normal. There is no way to predict how long these periods will last. Due to this, drivers must try to get as many rides as possible during that time to make it worthwhile.


Surge pricing is a profitable period for drivers. During this time, prepared drivers should set a goal to complete as many rides as they can.

Do not chase after the surge. More than likely the bonus will be over by the time a driver gets across town to the designated area.

With these tips, drivers can prepare for the peak periods when they occur. To do this, get familiar with what is going on in your city, such as significant events, and plan out your work schedule.

Drivers that can gauge when and where a surge will happen will be able to maximize their profits time after time.



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