Fleeting Wonders: Read a Book, Ride the Bus for Free

Everyone should read on the bus! (Photo: Cogiati/Wikipedia)

If you've been lamenting the large amount of people who sit on the bus and subway with their faces buried in a Kindle or studiously focused on an iPhone screen, it’s time to move to Romania.

In June, the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca ran a public promotion allowing anyone who read a book on the bus to ride for free. The idea was proposed by city resident, and now biblioactivist, Victor Miron. As Miron told Bored Panda, it took around a year of campaigning to the city’s mayor, Emil Boc, to bring the idea to fruition. Boc took to Facebook to see what kind of support there would be for such an initiative, and after receiving what The Independent says was an “overwhelmingly warm response,” he put the free-ride plan into action.  

The books-on-buses scheme launched as part of the celebration that took place in Cluj-Napoca after the city was named the 2015 European Youth Capital. From June 4 to 7, anyone who “traveled by book” did so free of charge. Other pro-book events also took place, such as a weekly book club that was held in the city’s botanical gardens, and a campaign to hand out free bookmarks to the public. (What better symbol for printed-book advocacy than a bookmark?)

As for Miron, he has already moved on to other forms of biblioactivism. He is currently spearheading a social media trend he is calling “Bookface.” Much like countless other outward-facing forms of solidarity, Miron's campaign encourages people to change their profile picture on Facebook—in this case, to a picture of you reading a book. People with Bookface photos can then receive discounts at city bookstores, and as he told Bored Panda, even at the dentist.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that's only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.