I gotta wonder if the surges are even real. Every single time.... and I mean EVERY single time I turn on my app in the early morning and there's those "pre-surge" boxes surrounding my car icon. Not red, but yellow or brown-ish. After a minute or two, they disappear. It always seems my car is in between those "busy" zones. I'm never in a surge when the zone turns red - I'm always a mile or so away. If I chase it, it either disappears before I arrive, or I sit in the middle of a surge zone without a single ping.
I have gotten a few surges, but it's less than 1% of my rides. I think it's just UberCandy for drivers to make us think there's decent money to be made, a carrot and stick thing.