Surge stories

AltaClip

Active Member
Post your surge stories. I love to watch how Surge is used to control drivers like mice in a maze.

Last night (Jun 5) before 8pm there was a 20+ min surge in St Albert that reached 3.6x. I happened to be just starting my night in NW Edmt at the time so headed that way since it's only 4-5 mins. When it started there were zero cars in St Albert.

Within 15 mins there was 2-3 cars covering St Albert and surge continued at 3.6. I wasn't aware of any event and thought 2-3 would kill the surge. It didn't right away. Surge started dropping to 2.7, etc. then off after 20+ mins. By this time there were 8-10 cars in St. Albert mostly clogging up St. Albert Trail and nobody was getting pinged judging by the rider app. Surge ended and I think most got a coffee and eventually gave up since 2-3 cars is usually enough to cover.

I think surge has a purpose but also think it's not all automatic programming. I think there is a human element to manipulate/encourage driver behavior. Henday looked like an Uber parade heading into St. Alb.

Wish I could take a screen shot but haven't figured out how to do that with my older Gnex.
What's your surge story.
 

MeekloBraca

Active Member
Sunday June 7th there was a 3.6x Surge in Terwillegar/Riverbend for about 30 minutes around midnight. A 3.6x surge in Riverbend on a Sunday? Yeah that sounds legit right? Well, I had just dropped someone off on 63rd ave so it was a quick drive to the area. I had the passenger app on watched how cars were coming to the area and nobody was getting pinged. Of course after 4 cars arrived to the area the surge slowly went down and then went away meanwhile all of the cars remained before dispersing.

I don't think Surge is manipulated by a person. Uber doesn't have enough staff to do this for each city and I highly doubt there is someone sitting in the 99th Street office playing with this. But obviously Surge is a tool Uber uses to manipulate drivers to disperse throughout a city. Dont fall for it. If your already in a surge area and you get pinged, cool, but dont waste your gas running around all over for it.
 
So glad to find this forum. Drivers are at an extreme disadvantage if they do not have an avenue to communicate. I've been doing Uber for about a month now and while initially enjoying it my patience for it is growing thin. I didn't expect big money. In fact, a few days before I began I was an Uber passenger and the driver told me he figured he was making minimum wage (so around $10 an hour in Alberta). Accepting this would be the floor price (more maybe if I worked extra hard) I pursued it. Now I am questing whether I even take home $10 an hour. I still need to crunch the numbers but it looks more and more bleak with each passing day.

To the point of this thread, last night they had a surge in St. Albert. It was at 3.6 and I was the closest guy with no cars in sight. As soon as I got into the city limits and parked I waited and waited. Nothing. Then I started to see the cars all rush into town and the surge drop back to 1.5 and then to nothing in no time. There had to be about 6 cars in town or more at this point, which is a lot for St. Albert in my opinion. Once I saw that many cars I took off and called it a night. What a scam that was. There was, according to the net, a 150 anniversary gala for the school board. My guess was that it was about to end (say at 11) so Uber put the surge on around 10:30 to get the cars up there. A couple hundred folks drinking, and a big rainstorm, and you had to figure there'd be requests. I didn't waste my time to find out. Once the surge was off so was I. Too many cars to compete with.

Had drivers stayed outside of city limits - as was suggested on an earlier post - or just said forget it and allowed the drivers hanging out in NW Edmonton to take the calls then it would be better. I think drivers just shouldn't chase surges. Everyone should just stay put and at that moment when you happen to find yourself in one and get it, then bonus. Chasing them - as I did last night - just shuts it down and ruins it for everyone. And besides, to wait 10 to 15 for Uber to come isn't that bad. It would take 30 + minutes for a taxi to come so the passenger is still better off. Rant done. Look forward to following this forum. Thanks for contributing. We need more on here.
 

MeekloBraca

Active Member
The lesson of the day, dont ever Surge Chase. If your in the area, cool, if not, stay where you are. Lets others around you chase it.
 

ActionJackson

New Member
A couple observations:

1) I went into the Uber office this week and we got into a conversation about surge, what's interesting to note is the staff in the office even said not to chase surge unless it's in a close area, so I'm very doubtful that someone is using this to control where drivers are. They mentioned it's controlled by an algorithm based on the amount of demand in the area.

2) Has anyone noticed there's a lot more surge since the price cut? I don't know about you guys but I have found that I've started raking in the surged trips especially downtown Saturday late night - last week I got 3 1.8x trips after midnight, I 'd make a drop-off and head right back. Still find surge somewhat rare during the week - but as the prevailing wisdom here is saying, don't go chasing surge ghosts.
 
Uhh, but the whole point of surge is to control where drivers are. That's why it exists. It even says that in the passenger app when there is a surge "price is up so we can get more ubers in your neighbourhood" is what it says. It even gives an option for riders to get an alert when the surge is over so they don't have to pay extra. And the algorithm isn't based on the amount of demand in the area - there's no way. If that were the case there wouldn't be six cars in St. Albert during a surge and none of them getting pings. I agree that it is likely based on some sort of data -- like history vs. number of cars in the zone + recent requests etc... but that can't be it. If surge was based on just demand in the area then there would be a surge after every concert and every weekend night from midnight to 3 am. But that's just not the case.
 

ActionJackson

New Member
Yes you're right the point of surge is to incent drivers to come to the area - I'm just saying it's not some person controlling it, and often it doesn't make sense to chase it. I've heard the algorithm uses data from people opening up the app and looking for cars not necessarily requests which is what they may have meant by demand.
 
I think it's a lot more to it than just people opening the app. And I think there is a degree of people controlling it. If they were smart - which Uber is - then they would use all of their data points to anticipate what's going to happen. They have tonnes of data at their fingertips to do this. You might start your algorithm by using historical data, then you might add the current weather, then add events taking place, the time, the day, the location of their most frequent riders and match it with the number of cars in the area. You'd be stupid not to consider everything you possibly could. The New York Police Department uses data to predict where crime will take place (using all of the historical data they have of where, when and why other events happened). There's no question Uber is doing the same thing here. What factors they use exactly we do not know. But I bet it is a lot.
 

MeekloBraca

Active Member
I think your right Doug, it wouldnt surprise me if they are in contact with Uber Central and inform them of current events and they adjust the app accordingly. For example, from noon to 10pm today we could see downtown surging more because of the Porkapalooza. Uber Edmonton could let the app people know this massive event is happening and they can adjust the programming accordingly. Ive seen more 3x+ surges in the last few weeks so I suspect some adjustments have been made to the algorithm.
 

AltaClip

Active Member
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  • #10
Caught a Sun night surge at 11 pm or so from Whyte to far north 167 Ave. Guy was pretty drunk and heading to a booty call so as normal with surge I make sure my app is dimmed and not showing that lightning bolt. Doubt he had any idea (or cared) until maybe today.
 

AltaClip

Active Member
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I think on weekends late night is the most likely due to drunk pax that might not realize they requested surge. I average 1 or 2 a week usually only 1.2 to 1.5x
 

MeekloBraca

Active Member
I hope some of you fine people were able to work Canada Day cause the Surge was through the roof for two hours and every car was getting taken up. I was watching the fireworks with my girlfriend so I didnt work, but I had the app on when it was 2.8X surge just to see what I was missing out on, and it was insane.
 

MeekloBraca

Active Member
"Might not now, but most likely will soon."

Nah man, not any time soon. The problem with Edmonton is its way too small, too few people using it, and too many Uber drivers. With the rare rare rare exception, Surge here is used primarily to manipulate drivers into dispersing around the city. In American cities like LA and Phoenix where you have 5-6 million people and an establish brand, Surge is much more of a factor in how Uber drivers operate.
 

AltaClip

Active Member
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  • #18
Meeklo - I was home till 11:20pm Canada Day and saw the prolonged surge downtown. Couldn't resist and headed out...
I had 3 surge rides plus another 3 in 2.5 hours.
Surges downtown were as you said 2.5 to 3+ constant for over an hour.

I received my first ping while still north of Yellowhead 2.2x surge for an address near High Level bridge! She waited 15+ mins for me to pick he her up and drive to west end.
This shows that you don't need to chase the surge (which ends it for all). Try and sit just outside but it's a real surge demand the pings will come to you even 5-6 km outside it!

I didn't drive last NY Eve but imagine it was similar.
I'm getting picky now for my later Fri/Sat night trips. If it's past 1:30-2am I will wait for a surge downtown or Whyte to finish up. Wish others would do the same as with lower rates we deserve it.

Have a good weekend.
 

AltaClip

Active Member
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  • #19
St Albert http://sevenmusicfest.com was pretty good last night and good way to get steady rides b/w 10-midnight.
I would like to thank the other drivers that were around last night b/c it appears from watching the rider app that they/we get it when it comes to supply/demand and surge.

There were a couple times that it appeared 2-4 SA drivers turned their app off and grabbed a coffee/waited for demand to pickup. Not long just 5-15 mins. Instead of 4-8 drivers in SA it showed about 2. When surge was sustained at 1.7x instead of watching drivers like mice chasing cheese scampering north up St Albert Trail they simply 'popped up' in the middle of SA (like me :smiles:.

It was a nice Sat b/c I didn't cross the river once and snagged more mature pax from weddings and the 7musicfest instead of usual riskier drunk college crowd. Tips better too but that is always random.
 

AltaClip

Active Member
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  • #20
Nice 1.6x surge last night from St. Alb to far NE end including scenic route to try and find open liquor store at 1:30am. >$60 + $10 tip for 45 mins.
Followed that up with a short 2.2x surge from Whyte.
With lower rates I will turn my app off and grab a coffee waiting for the next surge late night Fri/Sat.
Many St. Albert drivers seem to be getting the hang of it so everyone can enjoy some surge rides.

GPS / app issues made it tough at times though.
 
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