January 18th, 2012
07:16 AM ET

Indonesian railway stringing concrete balls to deter roof riders

Indonesia's state railway, Kereta Api Indonesia, has begun stringing concrete balls over rail lines to prevent people from hitching free rides on top of its trains, according to local news reports.

The devices are called Goal Bola-bola , or goal balls, as they resemble soccer goals with the grapefruit-sized concrete balls strung from chains, according to a report in the Jakarta Post.

Trains in Indonesia are often overcrowded.

The railway said it resorted to using the concrete balls after previous anti-roof-rider efforts  including greasing the roofs, spraying roof riders with colored water, and detentions and fines  didn't stop the practice.

But a human rights group says the balls expose violators to a punishment as severe as death for a minor infraction.

“Picture this: If a student has to take the train, he or she would face the threat of being killed by the concrete balls. Now his right to get to school safely is simply violated,” Yosep Adi Prasetyo, a spokesman for the National Commission on Human Rights, told the Jakarta Globe.

The balls will only be used on lines that run locomotives, according to the Globe report. Lines with electric trains will use swinging doors that will allow the electrical connectors through, but not roof riders.

Adi told the Globe the real problem isn't freeloading riders, but that there aren't enough trains to accommodate demand.

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Filed under: Indonesia • Railroads • Transportation • World
soundoff (333 Responses)
  1. Tigresse

    The solution to this problem is to deal with the root causes: poverty and lack of nation-wide access to public education. Give fish to a person and they can eat; teach them how to fish and they can eat and feed their family, too.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ukpip

      Thats nice, but the railways have about as much chance of doing that as bringing about world peace.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. T

    Here's a novel idea: How about requiring that the trains be unloaded when an idiot's body part is sticking beyond the confines of the train? They'll learn pretty quickly when the train doesn't move until they get off.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jb

    It's all fun and games till the railway company kills 1000 people with concrete balls.

    January 20, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. jamest

    why dont they just make all the rail cars convertable toped (no roof)? that is an insane fix....

    January 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
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