During busy times, apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash use limited-time bonuses and incentives to motivate drivers to get out on the road. DoorDash has Peak Pay and Challenges, Uber & Uber Eats have Quest, Boost, and Surge.
For Peak Pay and Surge, the apps will say, “Demand is high! Drive right now and earn more!”
But then you drive to the “busy” zone only to sit and stare at your phone, waiting for 10, 20, or even 30 minutes without getting a single order or ride.
So, what exactly is going on when you’re sitting in a surge or Peak Pay zone without getting any orders? Is the app down? Are the apps lying about demand? Is something wrong with your account?
Read on for more info about surges, Peak Pay, and how to figure out why you’re not getting any orders.
What you need to know
If you’re not getting orders in a surge or Peak Pay zone, the most likely reason is that too many other drivers are doing the same thing as you!
Bonuses lure other drivers into the area and the supply of drivers becomes much greater than the order demand from customers.
It’s also possible that there is an issue with your account or there is an app issue, but that is rare.
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Uber & Uber Eats: In the middle of a surge with no rides or deliveries? Here’s why
The Uber algorithm triggers a surge bonus when order demand is high or driver supply is low. It’s intended to draw in drivers to meet a surge in passenger demand.
To earn the surge bonus, you have to be in the surge zone, or the pickup location has to be in the surge zone.
If you’re in the middle of a surge and don’t receive any rides or delivery requests, the most likely explanation is that the surge has attracted too many other drivers into the area. There are too many drivers and not enough requests.
It’s called ‘chasing the surge,’ and it causes driver supply to exceed customer demand. A busy zone won’t stay busy for long when too many drivers are chasing the surge.
What about app outages or other reasons?
You’ll see error messages in the app if there’s an outage or an issue with your account.
If you’re not getting orders in a surge zone and there aren’t any error messages or glitches in the app, it’s likely that too many other drivers are in the zone.
“Don’t chase the surge” is common advice among drivers. While surge bonuses can be lucrative, chasing the surge is not always the best thing to do.
Instead of chasing surges, drive as you normally would and only enter a surge zone if you’re very close to it.
More reading for Uber drivers
- How to tell if the Uber app is really down
- How Uber Eats Drivers Can Get More Quest and Boost Promotions
- The Highs and Lows of Uber Eats Driver Pay
DoorDash: Not getting any orders during Peak Pay?
On DoorDash, Peak Pay is a bonus added to each order during busy times. The DoorDash map shows where Peak Pay is available and tapping the zone gives you more info about the duration of the Peak Pay.
If you’re inside a Peak Pay zone and not getting any orders, the reason is usually that too many other drivers are in the same zone and there are not enough orders to keep all of the drivers busy.
Drivers might think Peak Pay is only a perk or bonus, but it’s actually a way for DoorDash to ensure that customers get the fastest possible delivery.
As long as there are enough drivers to keep wait times low, DoorDash is willing to accept that some drivers in a Peak Pay zone won’t actually receive more orders than normal.
Check for DoorDash app outages
There is one thing you can check if you’re not getting any orders in a Peak Pay zone.
DoorDash tends to have more outages than other apps, so if you haven’t seen any order requests in a long time, check to see if DoorDash is down.
When there’s an outage, you’ll have trouble logging in, or DoorDash will kick you out of the app. If you can log in and go online, the lack of orders is probably due to low customer demand.
More reading for Dashers