Nobody likes being rained on. But in a city like Vancouver where rain is a fairly common occurrence, it can be hard to dodge the drops. Thankfully there’s a new solution at the University of British Columbia that’s leveraging the campus card to enable free umbrella rental.
Per a report from GizMag, the solution is the brainchild of startup provider UmbraCity. The aim of the initiative is keeping people dry in the notoriously rainy city of Vancouver, and following the familiar car- or bike-share formula, the solution includes a fully automated umbrella rental kiosk.
After signing up for membership at one of the kiosk locations, users can swipe their UBC card to rent an umbrella. The first kiosks have already been installed on UBC’s campus, and students can rent the umbrellas at no charge for up to 48 hours. Beyond 48 hours, students are charged $2 per day to a maximum of $20. The umbrellas can be returned to any UmbraCity kiosk.
Each umbrella has a unique identifier that is read by the kiosk at the time of checkout and return, which enables UmbraCity to keep track of how long users have possession of their rental umbrella.
The umbrellas are lightweight, durable and resistant to strong winds, but are also said to be fully recyclable for when they inevitably reach end-of-life. The umbrellas also feature a bright yellow color, which the startup says increases pedestrian visibility.
Launched in September, there are now five UmbraCity kiosks scattered across the UBC campus. The startup intends to use the initial roll-out on UBC’s campus as a pilot study, and use the results to forecast future implementations.
See the UmbraCity kiosk in action at the University of British Columbia here.