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SNCB to provide umbrellas for hire at Midi station

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Illustration picture shows people with umbrellas during heavy rainfall on the Grand Place - Grote Markt square in the city centre of Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO BRUNO FAHY)
09:12 03/03/2021

Anyone who lives in or has visited Belgium will know that it is possible to experience all types of weather in the space of one day.

Those who know are often well prepared. But for those who don’t and get caught out by a surprise downpour or shower, help is now at hand – especially if you are in the vicinity of Brussels-Midi train station.

The Belgian rail operator SNCB is making umbrellas available at the station for anyone in need. The blue umbrellas, made of recycled plastic and sporting the SNCB logo, can be collected from seven points within the station. They are free to use for the first 24 hours but then cost €1 per day after that, with a 15-day limit of use.

Travellers can unlock an umbrella digitally through Apple Pay or Google Pay, or by scanning their credit or Maestro card. 

"We want to provide travellers with an extra service for the 'last mile' of their journey,” said an SNCB spokesperson. 

During the initial test phase, 200 umbrellas will be made available. Depending on the results, the SNCB will consider extending the project to other stations.

Reactions to the offer has been mixed so far with some people on social media welcoming the project, while others feel that SNCB should be more concerned dealing with other matters such as punctuality of trains or providing free toilets in each station.

Written by Nick Amies