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.

Post by:
Filed under: Indonesia • Railroads • Transportation • World
soundoff (333 Responses)
  1. Buster Bloodvessel

    They are desperate to get to work and every day the train fills up, so they hang on the outside. I'd be putting stuff up there for them to hang on to instead of knocking them off; workers make prosperity and are good for the country. Who spent the money that should have bought more trains?

    January 18, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      And then what happens when they're killed or inured, as happens on a regular basis? They go after the government or the railroad.

      Where is the money? In the pockets of the roof riders. If they bought tickets there would be more train cars.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD Jacks

      Unlike in the USA, in India you dont get to sue when it is your own stupidity and breaking the law that caused your injury.

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

      JD – It's INDONESIA, not INDIA...........Americans are dumber than crack. 4,978 miles between each others capitols.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • OnlyInAmerican

      Laws don't work like that in foreign countries. The courts would laugh at those that attempted to sue. Suing for being stupid is only successful in America.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnDave

      I saw a video a couple years ago of a guy on top of a train like that, and some kind soul talked him into reaching up and touching one of the high voltage wires. Result? One severely toasted dumb guy.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO ©

    Great. Now a bunch of Indonesians are going to steal concrete balls on chains and carry them around. A new, free weapon for a new generation.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kishmere613

    Can't wait for the first youtube video of some guy on a train roof getting smacked in the head with a concrete ball...

    January 18, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • ChaunceyJenkins

      haha, me too. The argument that it subjects people to a severe punishment is laughable. They're riding on top of a moving train, knowingly breaking the law and risking death already.

      January 18, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Could be funny if the video is edited to include cartoon sound effects.

      January 18, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Scott

    The money spent on the Goal Bola-bola should have gone to at least another train car or some busses to ease the demand. This is a horrible idea.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. KV

    They need to add a second or third line and purchase more locomotive and cars.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • jesse

      Yea , just like that ..I guess you'd want government bail out money to buy more trains.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jotman

    If anyone is killed, the CEO of the state railway should be charged with first degree murder.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tony

    I love the Human Rights Spokesman's comment, "the right to get to school safely is simply violated" – as if riding on top of a train was safe in the first place.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    "Now his right to get to school safely is simply violated,” Yosep Adi Prasetyo.

    No it isn't. He shouldn't be on the top of the train. Simple as that.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. t3chsupport

    Yeah, that looks effective...

    Anyone remember playing with swingsets, and throwing the swing around the top bar until it was stuck up there? Those chains aren't very long, just a few passes over and under the bar, and your obstruction isn't quite so obstructive any more. Just gotta keep their head down.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. umm no

    Maybe just perhaps the "roof-riders" shouldn't be riding on the top of a train. what if you had a taxi service and people ride on your roof for free. it isn't the "fault" of the raillines. it is just their change to prevent loses. pay your way or walk.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. AK

    I, personally, would not want to PAY for a seat on a train that is so overcrowded. I agree with Scott, use the money spent on the Goal Bola-Bolas to purchase another train car or busses. So sad.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. fucnn001

    They'll find a way to duck them. People can be very resourceful when the need arises.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. WaitWhat?

    Will they have webcams set up on these rigs? It would be fun to watch!

    January 18, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. andy

    easy solution.... sell roof seating.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. ELH

    Why hanging balls on chains? Just a simple cross bar and wipe 'em off in droves.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16