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. Kingofthenet

    Spray them with Hydrochloric Acid

    January 18, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. Josh

    I strongly disagree with the National Commission on Human Rights. These people do NOT have any sort of "human rights" to ride a train for free.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • PK

      Agreed.. They should have to pay the fares of all the free riders if they keep this stance.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • svann

      If they are riding on top because there just arent enough trains then thats different.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • theotherside

      You are right, they do not have the right to ride trains for free. But by looking at the picture and by the last sentence of the story, I think the underlying problem is more demand than there is supply so people are getting creative. Though we do not know the situation for every individual stealing train fare I would guess that for a great many of the riders it is an ethical dilemma. Let's say you live in a poor/developing country, don't have a car and rely on the train every day to get to work to provide for your family. But what happens when the train is beyond full and there are no more trains or means of travel to get you to work? Do you hitch a ride?

      January 18, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Alexk

      What about if the United States started putting explosives at stop signs so if you didn't come to a complete stop it would potentially kill you?

      Or what if your laptop exploded on your lap if you tried to use an un-secured wifi that you weren't given permission to use?

      January 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. you be so silly

    It takes concrete balls to ride this train baby....

    January 18, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Big Al

    Now his right to get to school safely is simply violated? When did riding on the top of a train become a safe way to get to school?

    January 18, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. Josh

    "he or she would face the threat of being killed by the concrete balls."

    But you claim it is without any risk of injury or death at all, by claiming up on the roof, or slipping off the roof while the train is in motion.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Common Sense

    Who cares? No free rides in life welcome to reality. Love how "examples" from human rights groups always involve "students" or pregnant women. Life is cruel deal with it. They've been warned repeatedly they use other tatics like barbwire and nothing stops the free loaders. Maybe if people paid the train system would have more money for more cars common sense. They should electrify the trains forget the concrete balls just flip a switch before leaving and entering a station send a burst of electricity over and around the outside of the metal train & zap anyone free loading on it off. If they die so be it. You can't play on a highway & expect not to get hit especially after you've been warned and been hit before you can't blame other people that you continue to do it let alone if you get hurt or die doing what you already know is wrong. Let alone doing things you know already to be wrong & have experienced why its wrong first hand by being hurt or seeing someone else hurt & yet still doing it. I have no sympathy for these freeloaders. It sucks their poor or lazy to pay but they have been repeatedly warned. You cant break the law be warned jail is bad go to jail for breaking the law & then get mad that jail is no fun and a horrible place to be? You were warned not to break the law not to go to jail not to free load on trains. A human will never win against a train no most cars. If youre still dumb enough to try this then you get whats coming sooner or later. Darwin Awards always look for good runner ups.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. Common Sense

    Future winners and runner ups for the Darwin Awards I see. And the winners are.......

    January 18, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. Why

    I read the comments in hope that i will read the feed back from Americans who demonstrate why we are leaders, but all I get is a sick feeling. What ever happen to 'if you dont have anything positive to say, keep your mouth closed'. OMG do you guys really think you are funny.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. bud

    love the person in front she the only smart one if she doesnt slip

    January 18, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. jesse

    they should put spikes up there like they do for pigeons.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. blah9999

    "Now his right to get to school safely is simply violated"

    Pretty sure that riding a train on the roof is not considered "safe"

    January 18, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Brownstain

    They're only wogs.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. m00nsuit

    Without reading the article and only looking at the pic.....it looks like they are creating Donkey Kong! LOL

    January 18, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. blah9999

    With that logic the spiked railings on the top of the Empire State Building violates safety rights for people jumping to their doom

    January 18, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. svann

    These gola balls are for their own protection. You know how dangerous it is up there?
    (sarcasm)

    January 18, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
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