It is a familiar situation to anyone taking the train to work on a Monday morning: packed carriages, stuffy air and nowhere to sit down.
But a Japanese metro firm thinks it may have found the solution to commuter misery by offering a free bowl of noodles to workers who stop travelling at rush hour.
The Tokyo Metro company says it will ease over-crowding on carriages by giving a coupon for a bowl of soda noodles to every commuter who takes an earlier train for ten consecutive days.
“We hope the campaign will contribute to reducing congestion during peak hours as more people take trains at different times,” said Takahiro Yamaguchi, a spokesman for Tokyo Metro.
The scheme is being tested on the notoriously busy Tozai line, which between 7.50am and 8.50am carries up to 70,000 people – around 199% of its loading capacity.
In some cases, students and part-time workers are hired to push passengers into the carriages until they are packed together like sardines.
“We are aware that the Tozai Line is chronically overcrowded, which has caused passengers trouble,” added Mr Yamaguchi.
Under the proposals, first reported by the Japan Times, commuters must sign up online and then use their travel card to swipe through the dates at a designated pre-rush hour time slot.