It was an interesting day for Uber drivers on Friday the 11th of October when they received an in-app notification stating that the surge option is undergoing a change. Drivers have been waiting and hoping for surge changes for quite a while, and many consider the changes with a skeptic's eye.
What will the new Surge changes be?
To start off, they will be longer; this means that drivers will have more time to reach a surge area and this will allow more drivers to partake in a surge. This change will also stop the surge chasing antics of some inexperienced drivers. Surge chasing is a major issue for many new drivers; the experienced ones don't chase and prefer to ignore surges that are a ten-minute drive from their position.
Where will the surges be anchored?
Before the change, surges were located where a passenger was; now the surges will be situated where the driver is positioned. This comes after drivers complained that when they were in a surge area and received a request from a passenger just outside the surge area, they would not get paid the surge price. Now, when a driver is in a surge area, the passenger will pay according to the driver's position and not the other way around. This will actually stop surge chasing completely.
For drivers, surge pricing was the cherry on the top; it was a multiplication factor of the ride price, which meant that drivers could earn as much as three times the amount of a standard fare. Now Uber decided to make the pricing simpler, which could mean a reduction in income for drivers. Their fears are that the price will be a set fare rate increase or just an extra dollar amount added to the fare no matter the length of the ride. This could be a major concern for all drivers, while passengers might enjoy a cheaper surge price, and drivers will know what the exact addition is, it will delete the attraction of long distance rides, since surge pricing was a multiplication of a total ride, and now it is possible it will only be an added amount.
The driver's concern comes from experience, a recent change to UberPool pricing promised a much sought-after increase in the hassle of an UberPool ride. The actual change only added $0.38 to $0.75 for the ride mile, after Uber's fees were deducted. This addition was only a fraction of what drivers thought they would be getting for the trouble of driving a pool ride.
Drivers concerns are well founded based on Uber's track record, however, since Uber has a new boss, it might be a matter of unnecessary worrying. Drivers are still wary of the change, and some expect the addition to only be around $1.50 to $2.00 per surge trip, which is a far cry from the double and triple fare fees passengers would pay during a standard surge ride. We will wait and see the outcome over the next few weeks.