BART introduces short stories for passengers

These+new+short+story+dispensers+at+various+BART+stations%2C+like+Balboa+Park+Station%2C+offer+readers+a+wonderful+distraction+from+the+commotion+of+traveling.

Joseph

These new short story dispensers at various BART stations, like Balboa Park Station, offer readers a wonderful distraction from the commotion of traveling.

Ryder Bouck '22

When it comes to innovation in the Bay Area most people wouldn’t think of BART, but the transit agency has launched a new, innovative partnership with a company called Short Edition.

Through this company, BART commuters have access to free stories that can be read by commuters during theirride. These one, three, and five minute stories are a great way for commuters to pass time and read flash fiction by various local authors.

Murillo Oliveira ’22, a regular BART commuter said,“I think these stories are very creative and are a good way to pass time, waiting for my train.”

Not everyone is one 100 percent sold on the short story idea. Brian Kosewic ’16, an English teacher and a flash fiction skeptic said, “I do think Flash Fiction is an important medium for people with limited time and chaotic lives. Also, the people who design the software we interact with every day on our phones and wearable devices are profiting handsomely off of shortening our attention spans and whittling away our minds’ abilities to focus.”

BART riders can now read a short story during their trip around the Bay. Click on the map to see the locations where the stories are available. (Marisa Hamilton ’22 )

Kosewic followed up his statement by claiming, “Presenting short fiction in an easily consumable and portable format could be an interesting intervention in this process. The stories being printed at BART are easy to read, but they could function as a literary gateway ‘drug’ to make people more inclined to pick up a short story collection or an actual novel.”

For those who are COVID concerned, the short story dispensers are touchless.

Once the company is more established, BART will create opportunities for local writers to be featured as well as expanding the number of kiosks to more stations.

San Francisco is once again the launchpad for this new genre of storytelling. Perhaps even skeptics will be won over by the flash fiction trend.

Kosewic continued saying, “I am fascinated by the idea of these stories, and will be actively seeking out one of these mysterious machines the next time I ride BART.”