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. Jason

    "Now his right to get to school safely is simply violated.” Seriously? Can he not walk or take a bus or a car? Maybe his ability to ride on the roof of a train is violated, but hardly his right to get to school.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Ya, because riding on the roof of a train is safe to begin with. I mean, seriously! They are actually encouraging children to climb off and on a train to get to the roof top? Come again? How is that *not* risking life and limb?!

      January 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. K-Jay

    Instead of adding more trains...just add more passenger cars to the existing trains. That would be a lot less expensive than adding the price of a locomotive plus cars. The cost of one locomotive engine could buy several cars.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Webb


      You are repeating yourself!

      January 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • benth165

      Hey K-Jay..... Adding more cars to the train won't do the trick, because you can bet those riding on top do not pay, unless of course the trains are free, which I doubt. Besides the balls are not low enough. From what I saw on the video, the top passengers could merely lay down and avoid the balls....

      January 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scott121467

    Well, lets just hope no one gets hit in the chin, because it always sucks to feel balls hitting your chin...I have heard..

    January 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John C

    “Picture this: If a student has to take the train, he or she would face the threat of being killed by the concrete balls."

    But they're right to choose to place themselves at risk of being killed is still protected. They don't have a right to ride for free anymore then they have a right to a job.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Frank

    Install some reverse chairs on the roof and charge a discounted fare for them. I'd rather get hit in the back of the head with bugs than have them in my teeth.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Roe

    As usual, a$$ backward thinking. What they should be doing is putting chairs on the roof and sell "first class" tickets for those "deluxe air-cooled sunroof" seats. Make some lemonade out of those lemons.

    Good luck with all of that.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff Roe

    Really though, if they want to stop folks from getting a free ride on the roof, just refuse to move the train until everyone gets off the roof. After an hour or two, the people inside of the train will be dragging them off with gusto!

    Good luck with all of that.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. maxx katt

    that is what our transportation system will look like if Obama gets re-elected. All you folks who voted for hope and change should think before you cast your vote.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack Nicolay

    The examples don't make sense. The video of the surfers show an electric train that needs access to the lines above, and thus provides room for surfers. The train line with the concrete balls is not electric powered, but diesel, and does not need "head room " clearance to operate. Seasoned surfers will stick to the electric lines...

    January 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Todd

    I am so glad I don't live in a third world country where there is not much regard for rules or safety.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Webb

      So,,,,, You don't live in the USA?

      January 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RedISgood

    Sounds like a safe move to me.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. RedISgood

    Wait !! they have to get to work to make American Clothes, and Electronics. TAKE THOSE BALLS OFF !!!!

    January 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. N Waff


    Love it – committing a violation or a crime is now a "right"


    January 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dwoof

    Some people just can't be trained...

    January 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Marbran

    Once again, we see the genius of 3rd world countrymen on display.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16