When Should You Go Online During An Uber Surge?

Earning surge pricing on a fare is one of the best ways to make a ride truly profitable, but we all know that “chasing the surge,” or driving directly toward a surge zone while you’re online, is not the best tactic. So what is a good way to take advantage of the surge?

Your Driver Mike recorded a solid video covering his surge pricing strategy. I should note that he describes the surge multiple system, but most cities are now moving to up-front surge. Regardless, I think the way he thinks about surge is still smart and applicable.

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So of course, there’s been plenty of changes to Surge on the Uber platform. Well in this video, I’m giving you specific examples and showing you exactly when to go online.

An example from the Philadelphia bar scene

We’re going to be showing you one specific time slot here, one demand trend, but this can be used at different times, for different events as well. This goes back to understanding the basics of Surge and knowing exactly when to go online. This example was taken from this past Saturday for Halloween weekend.

Starting at 12:28 a.m., we can see a 2.3 surge. We talked about a few strategies in our Halloween video linked above. Really any surge amount of 2.0 or greater, I would go online in anticipation for the biggest wave at 2 a.m.

Looking a little bit later in the evening at 1:14 a.m., we see a 2.4 surge. Now for this time, I would go online but you also really need to know your market. The map that we’re looking at here, this is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Now I know that the bars close at 2 a.m., but I also know that typically rides in Pittsburgh, they aren’t too long, about 15, maybe 20 minutes, usually less. So that gives me enough time to get this ride on the surge multiplier and also have enough time to get back into the bar areas.

Now it’s 2:00 a.m., 2:01 to be exact and we see a 2.7 surge. Now I would not go online just yet. The bar has just let out at 2 a.m., so we have a ton of potential passengers just now filing out of bars and clubs. They’re going to be opening their Uber apps, they’re going to be requesting rides, we need to wait. We can see here just a few minutes later, we have a 2.9 surge. Now’s a good time to consider going online.

Maybe you were hoping for a 3X plus. Let’s look a little bit later. We can actually see the surge went down to 2.8. So it’s after 2 a.m., we’ve seen a 2.9 and now it’s started to decrease and remember, there’s other drivers who have been online who have been taking requests. Now’s the time to go online if you haven’t gone online already.

Just five minutes later at 2:16 a.m., now surge is at a 3.0. Now usually I wouldn’t necessarily wait until 2:16 a.m. to go online for the first time. Now drivers who have, you will be rewarded and you will get that 3X. However, we’ve seen a surge decrease just a few minutes ago and the reason surge went back up is a lot of drivers took that initial wave of demand, of rides and then maybe us in the second wave of drivers, also took a bunch of rides. Now that area in the bars, it’s only 2:16 a.m., still have a lot of passengers that need rides. But really the wave one and the wave two are already gone and they’re on trips right now.

We can see this echoed just a little bit later at 2:21 a.m.. Surge is now at 3.2. Well if you happen to wait 20 plus minutes for your first ride, you can get now a 3.2X and again, just like our last point, the reason surge is at a 3.2 now is ’cause wave one and wave two, all those drivers including us most likely, are finishing rides. We’re out in the market completing those rides and now the bar area needs more drivers.

At 2:31 a.m., a surge is now at a 2.7 in the bar area. So here’s an important point. Now we’ve finished our ride that we’ve taken on a 2.9 or a 2.8. You don’t necessarily have to drive all the way back to the bar area for another 2.8 or 2.9. The reason being is if there’s a location closer to you, where you finished your ride, I would just take a 2.4, 2.5 instead of risking it, having surge disappear when you drive back to the bar area, ’cause you theoretically want to get that 2.8, that 2.9, but that may be gone by the time you get there.

Study your market for surge trends

Study the demand of trends. Know what the highest surge should be typically in your market for events, concerts, or bar closings like this. Let us know any questions or your own tips down below in the comments.

Your driver Mike here, I do appreciate you watching. Leave a like if you enjoy the video. Subscribe to Join Your Driver Team and I will see you in the next one.

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