If there’s one thing that will make a crowded subway a little bit better, it’s soba. Stick with me here: We’re not talking a messy meal to eat on the subway, but a free voucher to a local restaurant to enjoy a cozy meal of soba or tempura at your own leisure. This is exactly how the Tokyo Metro is hoping to make the morning commute a little easier.
The offer is available to flexible commuters willing to travel to and from work during off-peak travel times on the Tozai train line. This line takes people from Tokyo to the Chiba, a suburb of the capital. According to Quartz, Metro officials are hoping to sway 2,000 commuters with the incentive.
More than 7.2 million people take the Tokyo Metro every day, according to a report from AFP. So far, more than 7,000 people have adjusted their schedules to take advantage of the free meal, so says the Tokyo Metro Twitter account. The offer is currently available through February 1st—but there is a catch. In order to receive a free meal voucher, each commuter has to ride during off-peak times in the morning for 10 consecutive days.
Takeshi Yamashita, a spokesman for Tokyo Metro, shared with Quartz that the Tozai metro line runs at 199 percent capacity—that’s more than 7,600 riders—during its busiest hour (between 7:50am and 8:50am).
Never has there been a better reason to be a little early for work.