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. Lurkio

    Dhur! sounds like the plan came from some American Government Commiteeee!

    The real problem being not enough trains Soooooo knock off the poor guy who is actually going to work to earn money to feed and cloth the family along with paying Tax's etc, guess these people should stay home and claim off the Social and be ready to vote Democrat for more Food Stamps instead of getting a job filled by illegal immigrants, sorry I meant to say"New Americans" Makes Ya Sick!!

    January 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Larry

    How is riding on the top of a train considered safe transportation to school. There education system must be as warped as ours.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • JustAGuy

      What's more dangerous, riding on top trains or voting for Barack Obama?

      Hmmm, it's a toss up. But I'd have to say voting for Obama is more dangerous. You can become skilled at riding on trains, but there's nothing you can do to insulate yourself from Obama's policies short of leaving the country.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Grumpster

    And people complain about Metro in DC.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. misterwax

    East is East & West is West and ne'er the twain shall meet.... Islam vs. Christianity in a nutshell.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jb

      very stupid comment misterwax. Not all Asians are Muslims. There are hundreds of religions in Asia. I don't blame you for being an idiot. Bet you can't point your own capital on the map.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snitch-in-Time

      Considering the fact that Indonesia is around 90% Muslim, it is clear that misterwax has handled the facts correctly. It appears that JP doesn't know what he\she\it is talking about. This isn't another case of Ready-fire-aim holier-than-thou liberalism at work, now is it?

      January 18, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snitch-in-Time

      Correction: Jb doesn't know what he/she/it is talking about.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. philip

    Why dont they just charge the extra riders? Put hand rails on the top and the sides and just punch their tickets. Lots like a way to earn extra money

    January 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. charles

    Just build a helpful concrete footbridge between stops.

    Solves the problem overnight.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tom

    It seems like it would be a better idea to put a railing up there and sell much cheaper tickets for those who want to ride up there. They make more money off their trains, and the "train surfers" get a safer, LEGITIMATE ride.

    Certainly a better idea than hitting people in the face with concrete blocks.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    I would think an archway between each station just big enough for the train to go through but nothing else would solve the problem.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Robyn D

    So I could be decapitated by the wires or just smashed to hell by concrete... probably worth a few rupees to get off the roof. At least they have the guts to play hard ball (literally) to solve a problem.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Stan_DC

    What a load of crap! Lesson here for riders is don't stand up on the to of the train. Oh, here come the balls, lay down, or grab the closest young, weak, or old. In Iran they call those "human shields"! If they want to get the rodents off the train use an 1/8 inch wire cord about 8 inches above the train and problem solved.

    January 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. A #1

    See you later... Shak.

    January 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. oklahomabound

    Cover the top of the train with electrified barbed wire, that should do the trick.

    January 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Oldfortman

    I guess life is held in low reguard in this country.

    January 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
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    January 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Paolo

    Since the roof riders are free loading, the rail company or government should either not run with people on top, make the roof pointed to keep them off and the rail company or government should make it clear they ride at their own risk. The ball idea will work but it will make quite a mess.

    January 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
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