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. Bill

    Simple Arrest them, There breaking the law. geez

    January 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • bear0402

      And then what? It would cost more to put them in prison. They are the one's who are breaking the law.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Heywood Jablome

    How about stretching some piano wire just above roof high across the tracks? Then they could decapitate them and make sure they don't come back. They'd never see it coming

    January 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Quagmire

      Yes! Yes! I like it. Let's see how this works! Get the video camera!

      January 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • haywood jablome

      One question, "Heywood'Jablome" ??

      January 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. xfiler93

    YIKES!!

    January 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • CharoVA

      It's a skills contest. The skilled people will jump over the barrier while the train is moving!

      January 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • twinko

      will NEVER woRK

      January 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dassoulman

    Sorry Ally, your friend is wrong. There is a punch card pass system there. Get your card punched when you ride. Capacity is the problem, not the company overselling.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Could it be that she went before they started the punch cards? It was around 8 years ago. I'm sure she wouldn't just make that up.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ghostsouls

      Instead of spending this extraordinary amount on all these anti measures, why don't they use the money to buy more cars? And to erid who said "Where is the money? In the pockets of the roof riders. If they bought tickets there would be more train cars." Did you not read the article or read all the way to the end of the article, there isn't enough cars, so those people could NOT get on the train anyways to pay even if they wanted to, there isn't enough cars. They need to spend the money they are using to stop the roof riders, on extra cars, and those that remain are freeloaders.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Toxic Zebra

    Why don't they just double the number of trains to handle the volume of students?

    January 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Roderick Rugg

    They should just hire people to sit on top of the trains so that there won't be any room for any of them freeloaders up there. That would solve the problem. Or they could just take off the roof and use flat cars. Case closed!

    January 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dee

    Human rights people: They have NO right to ride on top of the trains. Let them kill themselves if they are that stupid.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Feast of Beast

      Yes. 🙂

      January 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Smith

      Lets look deeper beyond labeling these people as 'stupid'. There are social, cultural, economic, etc reasons for these type of actions.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Saxxon

    I like the guy in the picture who is standing on the front of the train.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Feast of Beast

    How do you have a "right" to an illegal train ride? Sounds like OWS thinking....

    January 18, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bubba

    If they are going to kill them, wouldn't it be cheaper to just put a guard up there and shoot them? It would make better copy.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Agent Frank

    "Why are you late ?"
    "Got tea-bagged by the train on the way in"

    January 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Locker

    How about the stupid conductors and engineers just stop the damn train when someone is on the roof? Can you imagine some NJT train just cruising along with someone on the roof? Call the cops, don't move until it's clear.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Buddy P

    "If a student has to take the train, he or she would face the threat of being killed by the concrete balls." If it's a good school, they will teach them that getting hit with a concrete ball will kill them.

    Their right to get to school safely? Sounds like the ACLU has opened a branch in Indonesia

    January 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Walt Peterson

    How many riders are killed or seriously injured by just falling off the trains now?

    January 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Saskia

    LOL they got this idea from that tv show Wipeout and MXC. They need to make the concrete balls much larger and put muddy moats alongside the tracks to make it really entertaining!

    January 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
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