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Super Bowl weekend was a bust for many


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Some Uber drivers made more money than usual during the Super Bowl, but it wasn't the jackpot many expected.
MPR News sampled Uber surge pricing every 15 minutes in five areas: downtown Minneapolis, U.S. Bank Stadium, uptown, the Mall of America, and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Uber increases prices by a "surge multiplier" during times of high demand. We tracked those surge multipliers. The highest surge we found was 3.9x regular prices, at 4:30 a.m. Monday in downtown Minneapolis.

"The early part of [Super Bowl] week was horrible," driver Michael Thorne of Apple Valley said. Driver Dan Wolter of Burnsville also expected more demand Monday through Wednesday. "It was like a bomb of demand was dropped on the metro area [Thursday]," Wolter said.

Low "surge multipliers" during Super Bowl week William Lager & Solvejg Wastvedt | MPR News graphic
Even over the weekend, the surges weren't as big as the pre-Super Bowl hype. "Everybody was kind of under the impression we were all going to pay off our houses with Uber income... It wasn't that way at all," Wolter said.

But Wolter said he made more than he would on a typical weekend. Thorne said he also saw an income boost Saturday. Thorne said Saturday's increase balanced out the lower demand from earlier in the week, resulting in an average week's income.

In the hours leading up to the Super Bowl, surge pricing all but disappeared from downtown Minneapolis.

From about noon on Sunday until just before kickoff, surge multipliers disappeared from all locations we sampled except uptown. It was a steep drop from surges earlier in the day, and the lull disappeared Sunday night and Monday morning.

An Uber spokesperson declined to answer questions from MPR News about what factors determine surge pricing. Uber did say surge multipliers depend on demand for rides at the requesting rider's location.

We don't know how much weight Uber gives the supply of drivers in calculating surge multipliers. We also don't know if Uber changes the surge multiplier in any ways that have nothing to do with demand. Drivers and riders simply see the surge multiplier and not the calculation behind it, so Uber surge is kind of a black box.

Uber said ridership more than doubled in the Twin Cities on Super Bowl Sunday compared to the previous week.

In a news release, Uber said Twin Cities trips increased by 143 percent compared to the previous Sunday. A quarter of Twin Cities riders on Sunday traveled to or from U.S. Bank Stadium, according to the release.

Data collection adapted from Northwestern University Computational Journalism Lab.


Sunday morning "surge multipliers" from Saturday night continued through around Sunday noon. The areas around the stadium and Nicollet Mall had the highest "surges". (Data collection adapted from Northwestern University Computational Journalism Lab.) William Lager, Solvejg Wastvedt, & Bill Wareham | MPR News graphic


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yep, thanks everyone and their mom who decided to recently start driving for Uber and Lyft. We really appreciate you ruining it for everyone.


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yep, thanks everyone and their mom who decided to recently start driving for Uber and Lyft. We really appreciate you ruining it for everyone.
Saw that coming especially when Uber and Lyft announced they would bring on hundreds of new drivers. It was over saturated to begin with. Hopefully they realize it's not worth it and quit but how many will stay and continue to make it worse?
The irony is most of the traffic congestion was due to Uber and Lyft! All I saw was windsheild stickers in my face, in front and behind me! So many double parking and not moving and holding up lanes everywhere. There were tons of illegal pickups, no enforcement. I had so many offering me cash. I even had passngers tell me their driver wanted cash only.
When the snow came I saw a few in the ditch, one with passengers , haha!


This isn’t rocket science, but I can’t even imagine last week being my first week as a driver in the city.


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See those areas that MPR was watching for surges? Those were the same areas I learned to avoid for pickups. In fact, I did ZERO pick-ups at the airport and Uptown, and only made one pickup at MOA during that entire fiasco.

Seeing how ridiculous downtown traffic was, I also abandoned pickups there, too. When I saw the steady surges at the suburban locations where there are a lot of hotels, I went out there instead. Why compete with EVERYONE ELSE when I can grab a 2.3x surge in Wayazata or Medina? Like it was any secret that they're going to downtown or the mall.

Funny enough, I've been driving every day since last Thursday. SB may have been a "bust" for everyone chasing the same dollar, so why go there? I don't need to be where there are 100k people- I can only handle one fare at a time, and that ain't gonna be where it takes 30 minutes to pick someone up just to take them a mile away.
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I stayed home grubbing and drinking, so it was a win for me. That bacon wrapped lasagna was good! The Patriots losing was even better.


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As said on other threads it was all about Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning.
This is a great example of capitalizing on demand from events but not at that actual event. Let's the roaches take care of the dirty work.

With all the saturation in my market, I am home by 10pm on Friday and Saturday and out Saturday and Sunday mornings. $600 easy peasy and I don't have to drive the crap times dealing with drunk idiots.


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This was one of my referrals, a random pax that asked for a invite code
lol. I had one pax tell me he was getting a $3000 sign on bonus to drive for Lyft before and during the SB. He was probably lying, but even if he wasn't, there's no real incentive for Lyft to pay out the bonus after the SB, because they've already got what they wanted.