Umbrella sharing program coming to NYC - FOX 32 News Chicago

'brellaBox

Umbrella sharing program coming to NYC

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

There's nothing worse than trying to dodge and weave through the rain drops on a rainy day in New York City. But a new umbrella sharing pilot may make getting stuck in the rain a little easier.

Who really wants to lug an umbrella around all day? So here's a solution: umbrella sharing.

"People can use an umbrella when they need it return it when they don't," says John O'Connor, one of the creators of 'brellaBox, a pilot sharing system for people to rent umbrellas. Much like a bike share program, they can be picked up and dropped off at 500 boxes across the city. Each box can hold up to 48 umbrellas.

"The idea is to use a credit card or smart phone to rent or purchase at any location I you rent you can return to any 'brellaBox box," he says. "You can find it on foot or by using the app."

Renters pay $2.50 for 12 hours or for purchase at $15. Each umbrella has a tracking device, so if rentals aren't returned customers will be charged.

The idea is getting mixes reviews from New Yorkers.

Even Mike Stone who sells umbrellas downtown says it's a different concept.

"It's a good idea but I'm going to give them a run for their money," he says.

In terms of replenishing the umbrellas in the boxes, the logistics are still being worked out.

O'Connor hopes 'brellaBox will not only keep New Yorkers dry but help the environment, too.

"It's supposed to be an approach that's more eco-friendly and easier on the pocketbook," he says.

Pilot program will launch at the end of May. The first 'brellaBox will go up at the WeWork Charging Bull location at 250 Broadway. The plan is to expand to other neighborhoods by spring 2015.

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