5 min read

    5 min read

    Uber Eats drivers recently reached out to us about two separate issues, both affecting driver pay: drivers not being paid for surges and a decrease in base pay in some cities. Senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins looked into what’s going on, how drivers are handling these issues, and what drivers can do in order to get paid on time.

    Drivers for the platform Uber Eats have been getting restless and upset, and for a good reason: they haven’t been getting paid for surges.

    Surges happen when the market has a higher demand than drivers available. The more requests that are happening, the higher the surge tends to be to encourage more drivers to sign into the platform to help the rush.

    What’s Going on With Uber Surge?

    For two weeks in Omaha, NE a driver says they have not been paid for surges. He said, “Of course I have sent numerous support tickets on all the trips that have not been paid, which seems to lead to a lot of dead end and futile responses from Uber support.”

    Another driver stated they haven’t received surge payments for 3 weeks, but now a lump sum payment showed up in his account. Perhaps this is Uber finally acknowledging the issue? The image below shows communication from Uber stating they had a technical issue:

    “Thanks to user feedback, we identified a technical issue that caused some delivery people to experience a delay in receiving surge earnings for certain deliveries.”

    This Reddit user stated:

    “So here is the deal of what Uber is doing to its drivers. There is a ‘next trip surge’ that appears at the bottom center of the screen (google ‘uber next trip surge pic’ to get idea of what this looks like).

    At one time, we drivers would get the fare+boost+tip+surge. About 6 weeks ago the surge stopped crediting our earnings even though it was promised to us. Uber offers several different reasons for this ranging from ‘a known error’ to ‘you were not in a surge area’ even though the entire city of south bend Indiana was in the surge area. Bottom line is we have no recourse to make them pay. Their attitude is ‘if you don’t like it….quit.’”

    Uber Also Decreasing Base Pay

    In addition to this, in many cities, the Uber Eats base pay has been decreased recently. For example, in Saint Petersburg, FL, a driver claims his minimum earnings recently went from $3 down to $2.50.

    According to this driver who reached out to us via Facebook:

    “I’m in Saint Petersburg, Florida and only deliver food with Uber Eats. My minimum recently went from $3.00 to $2.50. Also the ‘expected’ tip is included on the front screen before accepting the trip, so I don’t know the trip fare until I swipe delivered. Tricky!”

    Some even claim this is the second time Uber Eats has cut the base pay this year:

    “I have. The pay is slightly better but the market is still saturated. Lots of new drivers, plus many veteran drivers switched to deliveries during this pandemic. And Uber just cut delivery base pay, the second time this year.”

    A Reddit user posted that their base pay for Uber Eats is now at an abysmal $1.45. To go along with that, another Reddit post recently added to the platform states: “Just a reminder to never accept deliveries for $2.50”.

    Some people might not have the luxury of declining those trips. If they are driving in a smaller market that has a lower base pay, the only offers they might receive are right around that $2.50 threshold. In some communities, this might even lead to decent pay, as this Reddit user suggests:

    “I gotta say everyone I bashing the hell out of Uber, rightfully so I might at to a certain degree. But, I live in a fairly low income area, and the average pay around here is like $10 an hour. I can make 16-22 between Uber and Door Dash. In California, yes I see an issue, here where I’m at, it’s not as big of a deal. It’s still pays way more than any job that would hire me.Times are different around the whole country”

    On the other hand, this Reddit user proposed a “protest” of sorts because of the decline in base pay:

    “In order to Protest the new Uber Eats $2.50 Base Pay, I’m going to Decline every Offer until my Acceptance Rate is ZERO PERCENT. Then I will delete the App. Uber is GARBAGE.”

    Many on the thread expressed to the original poster that he/she should add this information to the “Why I drive” portion of the Uber Eats app to inform customers how the drivers on the app are being treated.

    What Can Drivers Do

    If there’s been a delay in receiving your earnings from surge, make sure to let Uber know through your app! Here’s a list of ways to contact Uber – one of the best right now is through your app, then through social media.

    If a Hub is open near you, it’s always advisable to go there, because speaking to someone in person is often more effective than ‘talking’ to someone through an app.

    When it comes to significant decreases in your base pay, that’s another story. We’ve reached out to Uber for comment as to how Uber is compensating drivers in place of a decrease in base pay, and will update this article if and when we hear back.

    Until then, it’s not a great option to take lower base pay if it results in lower average earnings. No one wants a race to the bottom in terms of earnings. So what can you do?

    1. Diversify – sign up for other delivery apps, particularly food and warehouse delivery like UPS Personal Vehicle Driver.
    2. Use your car for other ways to make money, including advertising, renting it out, or these other ways to make money with your car.
    3. Stay at home and check out these ways to make money without a job – use your skills on platforms like Fiverr, rent out unused parking spots or space in your home with Neighbor and more.

    Have you experienced either of these issues in your area? Are you receiving a lower base pay?

    Share below!

    -Paula @ RSG

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula Gibbins, a graduate of Augustana University, Sioux Falls, is a part-time rideshare driver and a full-time proofreader. She is based in Minneapolis/St. Paul. In her free time, Paula enjoys reading, playing board games and participating in trivia nights.