Let’s face it, New Yorkers — as much as we check the weather and try to prepare, there’s always a chance that a freak rainstorm will begin at an inopportune moment. And we’ve all pulled the umbrella out of our bags only to realise, “oh yeah, that’s the broken one.”
Enter ‘brellaBox, a ZipCar/Citibike-like service for New Yorkers caught in the rain.
The Wall Street Journal reports the company, founded by John O’Connor, will provide umbrellas to those who pay for membership.
The umbrellas will be stored in 500 branded boxes throughout the city and members will have key cards; rentals go from $US2.50 for 12 hours, or you can purchase the umbrella for $US15. An annual flat fee is also being considered.
The umbrellas are disposable, so if you purchase one, you can toss it when you’re done. If you decide to rent, you return it to a strategically placed ‘brellaBox.
The logistics are still being worked out, and the pilot program for ‘brellaBox is likely to be at the end of May or beginning of June. Users will be given free rentals for 16 hours at one location, WeWork Charging Bull, a hot spot for working entrepreneurs in the Financial District, and only charged if the umbrellas are not returned. Mr. O’Connor said he anticipates the pilot program to last about three weeks and expects a full rollout by Spring 2015 depending on the pace of fundraising efforts.