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. Jordan

    widih, parah banget indonesia sudah jadi kaya gini... When I was in Indonesia for two years, I always wanted to ride on top of the trains. But then I saw what happens to people if they stand up and get hit by the electric wires above each of the cars. Check this out http://youtu.be/9gOHfEusy_g

    January 18, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tom s

    you know that tv show here in ussa where they jump the moving padded beams and fall in the water, this looks like they will be jumping the bars. that will be a riot to see, like a wave at a stadium only on a train roof, but dont fall ouch

    January 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Testicus

    instead of concrete balls, how about electrifying the entire roof? nothing lethal, just a few thousand volts and a nice low current... like the kind you find in electric fences for horses. that way no one gets "killed" and no one's "rights" are violated.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • thomas

      Agreed, a fence charger should the trick.

      January 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Vince

    Won't work. The balls are too high above the railway cars. The roof riders just need to duck a little.

    January 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Byron

    the word 'rights' is thrown around quite a bit and mostly out of context. There is no right to get to school on a train that belongs to someone else.

    January 18, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • budro


      January 18, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoMObama

      Whadya mean people don't have a right to other peoples' property? Yours, Barry O.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
    • vance

      the trains are owned by the government, i.e. the people of indonesia- so the indonesian roof riders are riding on their own trains.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. mike

    how about something a little less brutal like spraying the miscreants with a foul smelling substance that's not easily washed off.

    January 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelvin

      Yeah, but would they smell any worse than they already do?

      January 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Alex

    There is no such thing as a shortage. There are only mis-set prices.

    January 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • vance

      if there is not enough capacity to accommodate the number of people who want/need to ride- then YES there is definitely a shortage.

      January 19, 2012 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Alex

    Offer amnesty to anyone wanting to sight in their rifle – good moving target to help simulate hunting.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fu Manchu

      Herp a derp a derp I say shoot 'em I reckon. Herp a derp. Yep, that'll learn 'em.


      January 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. vince

    I dont know why anyone is surprised, Indonesia is full of Muslims. I wouldn't be surprised if they started chopping off legs for stealing a ride after all thats what the filthy Quran calls for.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mahardhikasadjad

      @vince please... surely you could have thought of a more intelligent insult than that...

      January 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fu Manchu

      @mahardhikasadjad It was not an insult. What he said was true. And it is interesting that you choose to call out the one comment here which is based on fact as "unintelligent". I have to guess he hurt your feelings as a Muslim, and what he said rang a little too true for you to just ignore it.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • vance

      and the filthy bible says that people who wear two different fabrics must be put to death.

      January 19, 2012 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. They need Obama!!!

    Did King Obama approve this. He's an Indonesian citizen according to his college transcripts.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Crosscut

    This is going to make some awesome YouTube vids.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bobcat (in a hat)©

    You want to keep them off the top of the trains ? Utilize the static electricity generated by the wheels turning on those tracks.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. david lamb

    "Now his right to get to school safely is simply violated"
    What?!? He needs to find a different way to get to school that doesn't involve stealing a ride. Yes, we want the kid to get to school safely, but it isn't his right to steal - or do something unsafe. I think too many western "rights organizations" have no perspective on reality.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jewfromhell

    Knock off a Muslim, win a prize.

    January 19, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Anonymike

    I thought Saddam Hussein was dead. The difference is, he would have made people ride on top of the train. It's still excessive. And another reminder that the West is different from the rest of the world.

    January 19, 2012 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
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