How Uber’s dynamic pricing model works

If you’ve heard of Uber’s dynamic or “surge” pricing model but aren’t really sure what it means, don’t worry—here’s the breakdown. We’ve put together a quick and easy guide to how our pricing works so you know why it changes, what you can expect and where you can find an Uber cost estimate.

Booking the ride

Imagine this: you’re headed to a Saturday night concert and the last thing left to do is order the Uber. When you go to request a ride, you might find that the fare is different than the cost of the same trip a few days earlier. That’s because of our dynamic pricing model, which matches fares to a number of variables such as time and distance of your route, traffic and the current rider-to-driver ratio. Sometimes, this means temporary surge charges during particularly busy periods. Keep in mind that UberX in particular is still in pilot mode in Dubai and has fewer available drivers than Uber’s other services, making it more prone to price surges.

The response

Surge prices help to deal with the increased demand and encourage more of our partner-drivers to get on the road. They’ll be notified when fares rise, and so will you. If you decide to go ahead and request your ride, you’ll get an alert on the app to make sure you know what you can expect to pay. If you live in an area with upfront fare pricing, you’ll see the total cost of the fare before you request the ride.


Once more drivers get on the road, the supply and demand will become more manageable and fares should revert back to normal. If you’re a regular Uber rider, you’re probably already aware of the busier periods when surge pricing is more likely: Saturday nights; after-work rush hour; big events; and pretty much anywhere that draws big crowds.

This dynamic pricing system helps us to make sure there are always enough drivers to handle all our ride requests, so you can get a ride quickly and easily. That means you can relax and use all your energy (and your phone battery) to learn the concert choreography by heart.