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How surge pricing works

Learn how surge pricing helps quickly connect each person who needs a ride with a driver to help them get to their destinations.

How it works

Demand for rides increases

There are times when so many people are requesting rides that there aren’t enough cars on the road to help take them all. Bad weather, rush hour, and special events, for instance, may cause unusually large numbers of people to want to request a ride with Uber all at the same time.

Prices go up

In these cases of very high demand, prices may increase to help ensure that those who need a ride can get one. This system is called surge pricing, and it lets the Uber app continue to be a reliable choice.

Riders pay more or wait

Whenever rates are raised due to surge pricing, the Uber app lets riders know. Some riders will choose to pay, while some will choose to wait a few minutes to see if the rates go back down.

How are surge prices calculated?

When prices are surging, you’ll see a multiplier to the standard rates on the map. For example, you might see surge at 1.8x or 2.5x. This is how much your base fare will be multiplied by, so a fare that is usually $10 would be $18 when it’s at 1.8x surge. Uber’s fee percentage does not change during surge pricing.

Because rates are updated based on the demand in real time, surge can change quickly. Surge pricing is also specific to different areas in a city, so some neighborhoods may have surge pricing at the same time that other neighborhoods do not.

Surge pricing on the map shows the price that will apply to riders using the Uber app in that area. The rider’s location determines the amount of surge pricing on a trip, not the driver’s location.

How to identify surge in the app

When demand increases in a specific area, that neighborhood will change color. You can zoom into colored areas of your app's city map to see current surge pricing.

The colored areas of the map will range from light orange to dark red. Light orange areas represent small multipliers, while dark red areas indicate large multipliers.

You can see the amount of surge pricing that will apply to a potential trip when you're deciding whether to accept a trip in the Driver app.

As we work to improve the marketplace, we may test functionality and pricing in ways not described on this site.