oOh! helps make commuting fun with ‘Stories on the Go’

Commuters now have the chance to consume the writings of a variety of Kiwi authors on their daily journey thanks to a new initiative with oOh!media New Zealand and The Commuting Book, supported by Auckland Transport, Wellington City Council and Christchurch City Council.

Stories on the Go focuses on making public spaces better by providing Kiwis with excerpts from Kiwi authors to consumers on their daily commutes.

Since mid-March 2023, 50 unique QR codes have been installed in oOh!media bus shelters in key locations across Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) and Ōtautahi (Christchurch) offering commuters the chance to discover the words from a swathe of authors, across multiple genres.

From autobiographies and poetry to fiction novels and short stories, the newly installed offering provides the first few chapters of titles to any and all members of the public. The goal of which is to ensure commuters and passers-by are provided the opportunity to make their daily trips a little more entertaining, thereby heightening the attraction of public transport and engagement with public spaces.

Nick Vile, General Manager of oOh!media New Zealand says:

“It is important for oOh!media as a leader in the Out of Home space, to set an example for the industry of the importance of lending our spaces to causes that bring people joy and add value to their daily lives. Our partnership with Stories on the Go has not only brought tremendous excitement for oOh!media as a company, but has also allowed us to create a place for conversation within our community.”

Head of Partnerships at Auckland Transport, Simon Soulsby, says as a commuter himself he is “thrilled” to support this initiative.

“I catch the bus to work most days and I love it, it’s my time to read a book or listen to a podcast and zone out. Looking towards the future, getting more people catching public transport is going to be key to reducing traffic, reducing emissions, and giving people options to get around our beautiful city.”

Opening with titles such as Witi Ihimaera’s ‘Puripāha: Te Pane Kaewa’, Chris Parker’s ‘Here for a good time’, Rebekah Ballagh’s ‘Big Feelings’ and Sandra Arnold’s ‘The Ash, the Well and the Bluebell’, Stories on the Go programme maintains up to 15 titles on offer each month, allowing for the stories to travel up and down the country.

Nicky Pellegrino, Author part of Stories on the Go says:

“What every writer wants is for their stories to find readers. This is such a cool way to take stories out into the world to be enjoyed by New Zealanders. Instead of endlessly scrolling social media during the daily commute, it’s a chance to get lost in a short story or a novel extract, to be entertained, moved, thrilled, informed or amused, to discover new authors and experience the joy of reading. The only downside is that people might become so absorbed by the story they’re reading that they miss their stop!”

Vile says the oOh! team are excited to see how they can develop Stories on the Go in the future.

“Our vision is that in time, we will be able to offer the platform to Young Writers competitions, preview the latest releases from award winning authors as well as allowing the space to be a place for young, indigenous writers to share their work across Aotearoa, creating greater dialogue and visibility for our talented local writers.”

Head of The Commuting Book, Magdalena Lorenzo says she is pleased to have the support of oOh!media to bring this concept to life.

“We are ecstatic to be working with an organisation that shares the same values and goals as at The Commuting Book. To be partnered with an organisation the size of oOh!media, whose mission is to make public spaces better, is very aligned with our objective of providing literature to people all over the country, in an easy and accessible way.”

oOh!media has built an ongoing relationship with The Commuting Book team to ensure a revolving library of written and audio works are available for Kiwis across the nation.

The Commuting Book is a not-for-profit, community-based organisation that aims to promote an appreciation and love of reading as a source of knowledge and entertainment by bringing literature and public spaces and in people’s daily activities.