Last August, the University of British Columbia (UBC) became the first location to have a semi-automated umbrella sharing service, thanks to a new company called UmbraCity. The photo below shows UmbraCity co-founders Amir Entezari (left) and Babak Asad beside one of their self-service kiosks. The two came up with UmbraCity because they got fed up with Vancouver’s frequent but sporadic rain.
To use the service, you sign up with an email address and a credit card at the kiosk. You then swipe your registered credit card to borrow an umbrella. In the case of UBC, students can also link and swipe their school IDs. You can borrow an umbrella for free for up to two days. If you don’t return the umbrella within that time you’ll get charged $2 (USD) every day for up to 10 days. As with bike-sharing systems, you can return umbrellas at any kiosk.
You may think that UmbraCity is taking an overly complicated approach to a niche service, but as someone who lives in a place where it can rain practically any day, I’d love to have something like it to rely on.