RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
People who commute by rail know this truth - the time on the train is time you get to spend by yourself.
(SOUNDBITE OF TRAIN)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Now boarding (inaudible).
MARTIN: And in the San Francisco Bay Area, Alicia Trost offers commuters a chance to spend that time reading.
(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP, MACHINE WHIRRING)
ALICIA TROST: You'll see a kiosk that is lit up, and it dispenses a long receipt-like short story.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Trost is with Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART. She loves trains and short stories, and she advocated for these kiosks because she wanted people to read something richer than what's on their phones.
TROST: We're giving you this free short story. You can then take it on to the train. You could leave it on the train for the next passenger. You could take it home and put it on your refrigerator or use it as a bookmark.
MARTIN: Some of the stories are classics. Some are new, original works.
TROST: Short Editions is the company. They're backed by Francis Ford Coppola. Some of them are very well-known short stories from history, and others are - they pay authors to fill their dispensers.
INSKEEP: Trost thinks this initiative could make riding the rails a little more appealing.
TROST: I absolutely think we will get more riders just because of short stories.
(SOUNDBITE OF HONKING)
INSKEEP: She also wants to introduce local writers to local riders.
TROST: We wanted to do something where we do a call to artists in the Bay Area to submit stories for a contest, and then the local jurors are going to read all of them, and they'll submit their favorites to advance.
MARTIN: Trost says the winner will get $200 bucks and a captive audience.
(SOUNDBITE OF BEEPING)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The doors are closing. Please stay clear of the doors.
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