Skip to content
CityLab
Transportation

Tokyo’s New Strategy for Easing Subway Overcrowding: Free Soba, Tempura

To ease the morning rush traffic, the city’s Metro will reward riders with buckwheat noodles and tempura for traveling outside peak hours.
Will early bird commuters eat up Tokyo Metro's latest offer?
Will early bird commuters eat up Tokyo Metro's latest offer?Shuji Kajiyama/AP

For all the efficiency that Tokyo’s subway system boasts, the morning commute is hell. At peak hours, trains and platforms are notoriously crowded, so much so that the city has to hire “pushers.” The city has also long been trying to ease crowding by asking riders to stagger their morning commute hours, and this time around, they’re appealing to people’s stomachs.

According to the Japan Times, the Tokyo Metro Co. is launching a nearly two-week-long trial on Monday urging commuters on the busiest line—the Tozai line, which runs east-west through the city—to head to work either before 8 a.m. or after 9 a.m. Those who sign up for the program and take part in it for at least 10 consecutive days will be rewarded with free soba noodles with tempura.