Uber drivers in Florida noticed a big change to the surge pricing system: Surge dollar amounts are no longer visible on the map, and surges are no longer ‘sticky.’
Drivers also noticed that the exact surge amount isn’t displayed on the trip request screen, the Trip Radar screen, or the ride receipt.
Some drivers thought the changes were a glitch, but an in-app announcement from Uber confirmed that the changes were intentional.
“Today, we’re moving to make your experience with surge pricing a little simpler.”
Uber’s goal is to show one simple upfront payout number that doesn’t have a breakdown of every payment factor.
That means you won’t see the exact surge amount on the trip request, and it isn’t a separate line item on trip receipts.
So far, it looks like these changes will apply to Uber ridesharing, not Uber Eats.
All of the changes to surge
These changes to surge are live in some test markets:
- No more surge dollar amounts on the map
- No more surge dollar amount on the ride request
- No more surge dollar amount on the trip receipt
- Rides with surge still include a surge icon
- You or the passenger must be inside the surge zone to earn the surge
The old surge map vs the new surge map
Notice the lack of exact surge amounts on the new map.
Shaded areas still indicate that surge pricing is active—The darker the color, the higher the surge. But you won’t know exactly how much the surge will be.
No more ‘sticky’ surge — Now you or the customer must be inside the surge zone
Under the old sticky surge system, you could enter a surge zone to ‘pick up’ the surge. Then, the surge amount would apply to your next ride even if you left the surge zone.
Under the new surge system, you or your passenger must be inside the surge zone for the surge to apply.
That means you won’t be able to head over to a surge, pick it up, then leave to go to a new zone.
The full announcement from Uber
This is (sort of) how surge used to work before sticky surge
These changes turn back the clock on surge, closer to how it used to work before sticky surge.
Before sticky surge, surge was a multiplier—not an exact dollar amount. The map showed a surge multiplier—like 1.5x, 2x, etc.
Ride requests showed the surge multiplier amount, and you only knew your exact surge earnings after a trip was over.
And before sticky surge, you or your customer had to be in the surge zone to earn a surge.
Is this change going nationwide?
So far, most other major markets still use the sticky surge system. Uber has not announced plans to roll out the new surge system to other cities, but these changes may appear soon in other cities.
Uber asked for feedback from drivers in the announcement, so they may tweak these changes or scrap them altogether.
Drivers react to the surge changes
“This is ridiculous now they’re hiding everything from us and not showing us anything”
“I use the surge amount on the map to position myself after a break. Do they NOT want drivers to go where they are needed?”
“Yes! I noticed this in my market too. It’s so bad here I switched to Lyft”
“Surge was always a joke anyway, this really changes nothing”
Drivers don’t like to lose information and flexibility. Exact surge amounts took the guesswork and surprise out of surge, and sticky surge gave you the flexibility to leave a surge zone and keep the bonus.
Both felt like perks for drivers, so most won’t be happy to lose them.