Surge Map Dynamics, January in Indy, and Weather


New Member
Good Day and much Kindness for all.

Ok... I'm bored.
Not enough chatter among UberIndyPeople and the pings are scant today.

Noticing the surge maps this past several days of challenging weather post-holidays...
Friday was an amazingly robust day for select and 2.5X+ surges - uptown, midtown, downtown.
Fewer fares with much better reimbursement compared to nearly any other day I've seen in the past 3 months.
Granted, a few white knuckle moments driving from NE side to IND to Downtown back to NE side back to IND back to NE - I fear other drivers who lack a basic understanding of car physics on slick surfaces, mostly.

Since then, I've noticed the map of Indy Metro being lit up red over a large portion of metro Indy including downtown with sweeping segments across the northside of Indy throughout the days, including today.

The oddness is, at times, while being in the middle of the intermittently, sustained ruby red zones yesterday and today, rarely a single ping. It was that way on Sat/Sun, too - though, weekends usually flakey with surges most times, so removing from study inclusion for now. As an uber X with jump-in surge threshold of 1.8x+ and otherwise operating Select, I've not experienced this absence of pings with these surge map dynamics before.

Speculating Theories:
1) False surges - very few riders & very few drivers. The scant riders I've assisted (those paying 2X+ & Select) are telling me they are having troubles finding drivers, getting lots of driver cancellations, and getting calls from drivers asking for destinations before canceling. I see plenty of drivers in certain areas at times with few disappearing from screen in these same red zones.
2) Real Surge, Cheap PAX - riders and drivers out there, PAX are patiently out waiting the surge zone charges. Feedback from my PAX are they are willing to pay most surge prices and/or Select charges because they are more concerned about getting somewhere safely than the cost.
3) Surge is not request-activity-based - possibly being used in some sort of predictability algorithm to motivate drivers to certain areas. I see your icons on Uber Rider app move in conjunction with the sweeping red arm surge zones across Midtown to Northside E-to-W and W-to-E, vice versa. More oddly, I find this entertaining at times to watch. *note to self: go exercise.
4) Post Holiday-WeatherChallenge-Disrupted-Utility&Schedules are causing odd rider-behavior trends. Common comments by riders: they don't want to drive in this stuff, they don't trust their own driving skills (but do Uber X drivers without 4WD!!), they don't want to risk damaging their own cars. they left their cars downtown/uptown due to storm and just trying to get back to them now.
5) Other

Thanks for reading this far and sharing in any chatter fellow Indy Drivers!



Well-Known Member
I drove during the surge you are referencing....I always go offline until I am in the heart of it....


Well-Known Member
Monday was a joke it was Red but no riders, the whole area was red, got 3 uber pings all day finally had to turn on lyft to get any rides, i will take the 30% and 35% anytime.


New Member
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  • #5
Same perception, Rockocubs...
Similar dynamic this morning.
I was spot-on during prolonged red hot surge at N Keystone, no other drivers per Rider app nearby. Not a single ping.


New Member
FYI, I gave a ride on that icy Friday. My rider was discussing surge rates and estimating what they were currently at. Turns out she worked for the Uber office on the northside of downtown. Her explanation was that the surge map was based on users opening the app to quote a ride and not actually based on ride requests. This would at least explain the situation.


New Member
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  • #7
Thank you for your reply, Cycloneandy.

Let me clarify my original message exemplifying the odd surge map dynamics. The pings rolled in nicely last Friday with the active surge-red zones - the payouts good. The suspect surges to which I’m referring have been happening this week, particularly Monday-Wednesday.

As I mentioned before, finding myself sitting in the dead center of prolonged red hot surge zones and/or driving through the north side sweeping ruby red surge arms yielded... not a single ping over 1-3 hours. Checking the Rider app, there did not appear to be anyone other than a scant driver available in the hotspot areas and they were not disappearing as if ride received either.

Bumped into a colleague who is also a driver and he mentioned this has been his experience, as well.

Maybe it is not affecting everyone the same way. I’ve reset my iOS device several times just in case of an app issue. It all seems rather odd in comparison to experience with the surge maps in the past few months of daily driving.



New Member
I have also noticed surges all around me, but never received a single hit. My guess is that, as Cycloneandy said, the surges were probably just people opening the app and getting a price quote, but not actually requesting a ride. I have talked to more than a few Lyft riders that have told me they check Uber's price but usually end up requesting Lyft.