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. Forward Observer

    Simple fix: tell them they can ride on the roof (which they obviously do anyway) as long as they buy a ticket.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe Sixpack

    Typical heavy-handed government over-reaction.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. don

    Heh heh heh ...... brilliant . !!
    people .... can always make new ones ........

    January 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Measure Twice

    They made the chains too short.

    Poor execution of poorer idea...

    January 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Here's Your Sign

      Measure Twice, the balls don't go to the ground. They only have to hang to just above the roof of the train. To quote Bill Engvall: "I just hate stupid people. Here's your sign."

      January 18, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. evalu8

    Welcome to the new generation of headbangers.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    Just carry a shield... problem solved.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sherri

    One more reason that I thank my lucky stars that I don't live in a country like that. Either there are not enough cars, or the people don't have enough money to ride the train, or something. But it's still a mess and I'm glad I don't live there.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ace

      Maybe it's just sheer stupidity.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ajois

    How about tacking one or two extra open air cars, standing room only to accomodate the overflow crowd ....THat would be much more humane and shows much better concern to hard working people who have reach thier destination either for work or family. Riding on the roof is already dangerous enough and govenrment is thinking of cruel ways to defeat the riders already faced with grave danger. It does not take a great research for the government to realize why people ride on the roof in the first place.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnDave

      The roof riders would fill those up to overflowing too, and then more of them would have to roof ride.
      Man.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. stockmakerone@yahoo.com

    The potential people that die because of these CONCRETE BALLS, will take away future profits when the dead riders could have paid.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    Sponsored by Brawndo.. It's got what Indonesians crave!

    January 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CmonNow11

    “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.

    Not sure how Mr. Prasetyo scores on logic – but thats like saying that the US discourages education by enforcing an agelimit for driving.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Things aren't as they seem

    This story fails to mention that there are no passengers inside the train. Everyone latches onto the outside/top to save some money.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. G

    Wile E Coyote was consulted on the design.... just sayin....

    January 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alex March

    I think that if the railway dosn't want you riding on the roof thats their call, and if you don't say off then whatever happens is your own fault. I don't see how anyone rights are being violated.

    Run the roof-riders through razor wire and the world become a better place for having lost them.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Diego Roswell

    I like this line of thinking as long as warnings are posted far in advance of the devices.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
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