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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 February 2019

Tokyo officials tempt travellers with free noodles

The Japanese capital is using free food to try to reduce passenger numbers on its busy metro system

Officials are hoping free noodles can help ease passenger numbers on Tokyo's public transport. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Officials are hoping free noodles can help ease passenger numbers on Tokyo's public transport. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Over seven million people use Tokyo’s metro system every day. As the city gears up to host the Olympics in 2020, that number is predicted to increase with the country on track to welcome well over 20 million tourists.

Before the influx, transport officials in the Japanese capital have come up with a novel way of trying to solve the problem of overcrowding on its trains and it all revolves around free food.

For the next two weeks, travellers on Tokyo’s Tozai Line are being encouraged to take part in a pilot project that rewards passengers for travelling outside peak times. If 2,000 passengers sign up to get involved, each of them will get free tempura. If 2,500 people get involved, they will get soba noodles. And if Tokyo Metro System manages to convince 3,000 commuters to switch their travel plans and avoid the morning rush hour, they will give everyone involved a combo package of both.

Tokyo's public transport systems are overcrowded and officials are piloting plans to reduce congestion ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
Tokyo's public transport systems are overcrowded and officials are piloting plans to reduce congestion ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

Travellers that want to get involved in the noodle project need to sign up online. They then use their travel cards to swipe through metro gates outside of peak times when commuter numbers more than double. The trains often get so busy that some people are employed specifically to help pack people into carriages in the densest way possible.

Kagurazaka is known for its upscale shopping and eating scene. 
Kagurazaka is known for its upscale shopping and eating scene. 

The Tozai line is a rapid transit train that runs from Nakano in Tokyo to Funabashi in Chiba. It’s the line tourists can take to visit The Imperial Palace Grounds in Takabashi or to explore the upscale district of Kagurazaka.

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Updated: January 23, 2019 03:57 PM

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