A contest in the San Francisco Bay Area will select 30 short stories that will be available at special vending kiosks at transit stations.
As reported in Bloomberg CityLab by Sarah Holder, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) is launching a short story contest to encourage riders to get back on public transit and explore the network’s services. “Starting June 1, the transit agency will start accepting short stories of 7,500 characters or less with the theme of ‘motion.’ A panel of local writers will choose 30 to dispense in kiosks placed in four stations across the network.”
Based on the concept first introduced by French start-up Short Édition, “which pioneered and first piloted the petite fiction repositories in Grenoble in 2011,” the kiosks are part of the agency’s effort to “get riders back on trains for more than just their work commute and to inspire them to visit more of the network.”
With commuter ridership still far below pre-pandemic levels, Holder notes that “There may be more opportunity to win back remote-working riders when they’re off the clock: Weekday ridership is now at 35% of pre-pandemic levels, says Trost, while weekends are back to 60%,” signaling a growing need to reorient transit services to non-commuters.
“Unlike the MTA’s ‘Poetry in Motion’ or other underground public art installations, the short story dispensers offer a tangible and portable diversion. Printed in long, thin, receipt-like strands, the stories are sourced from community contributors, as well as classic authors whose works are no longer under copyright.”
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