When you forget your umbrella on a day like today, your best option (other than trying to find a Duane Reade and getting soaked in the process) is to buy one of those $5 models on the corner, which will likely break at the first gust of wind. To make life easier for forgetful types, and for those sneak-attack downpours, a Canadian startup has set up an umbrella-share program in Vancouver called UmbraCity that allows users to borrow and return umbrellas at fully automated kiosks.
Photos via UmbraCity’s Instagram
The brains behind UmbraCity (who wanted to come up with a solution for the rainy climate of Vancouver) teamed up with the University of British Columbia to pilot the program on campus. It’s quite simple–users just sign up at an automated kiosk using a credit card or student ID. Then they can scan the card to pick up a rental umbrella. If it’s returned within 48 hours, there’s no charge. After that, there’s a $2/day fee, and if you hit ten days ($20) you’ve bought the umbrella. If it breaks, it can be returned to a kiosk and recycled. Plus, as CityLab reports, “The bright yellow umbrellas are designed to withstand strong winds, enhance pedestrian visibility, and function as eye-popping advertisements at the same time.”
UmbraCity plans to expand throughout Vancouver next year and then to other cities. No word on the other outposts, but we’re thinking since bike sharing did so well in New York, umbrella sharing is only natural.
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