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. IslandJane

    ...So the railway is unwilling to provide more trains to accommodate all the passengers, despite the obvious need. Instead, they resort to cruelly forcing people off the few trains they have by endangering their lives. Inhuman, stupid, and disgusting.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Well, but of course..... the rail company owes these people free transportation.... seems strange that people inside the train must pay but those on the outside don't....

      January 19, 2012 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Texasbil

      Typical communist outlook, let someone else pay for their debts.

      January 19, 2012 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Cybrdg

      Okay IslandJane – I've got a fabulous idea. Why don't you ship your hybrid car to Indonesia and cart all these freeloaders around on YOUR time and YOUR dime? Problem solved! (You bed wetting, pablum puking liberal)

      January 19, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeDuffy

      "...they resort to cruelly forcing people off the few trains they have by endangering their lives."
      Ummm, they're already "endagering" their own lives by the mere fact they are hitching rides on trains on the "outside" of the train cars! Hello!?!?

      January 19, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. propertydefender

    Yes!! Finally someone doing something proactive to prevent theft and stupidity. Now the free loaders can make what should be an obvious choice – live or die.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. jesse

    IslandJane You don't have a clue how the world works. I can't believe how people are so brainwashed into believing this PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO ....fill in the blank. You have the RIGHT to nothing ,,get that ? The train company is in business to MAKE MONEY and they are trying to stop people from STEALING their pay service. You don't have a RIGHT to a train ride.. Little Marxist a holes sprouting up all over the world these days.
    I'm sure if the rail company could afford more trains they would accommodate everyone. Maybe if they stop theft they eventually will make enough profit to build new ones.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
    • owlvan

      Actually maybe you should do a reality check. Having personally traveled and worked for long periods of time around the world I can tell you this is not a simple case of scamming free service. In some cases a train ticket in these parts of the word can be more than a week's wages and that is if you can even get a ticket as often times "wealthier" passengers will buy the other berths in their cabin just so they can have more privacy. This is why many times you see mostly empty train cars with people packed on the roofs. In Indonesia like other places, short of walking hundreds of miles, trains provide the only form of long distance travel for people that have to work great distances from their homes. And someone risking their life to ride the roof of a train is not doing it becuse they want a free ride they are doing it becuse they don't have any other choice

      January 19, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • fake conservative exposer

      jesse and propertydefender are the same person, a sick filthy frothing marxist who is trying to appear like a conservative so he can then make conservatives look like murderous genocial freaks. Just remember people like jesse and propertydefender's gods lenin, stalin, hitler, mao, etc proven in all history what darwinian nihilistic marxist beliefs bring, genocide upon all, and then try to cover your pathetic tracks with reverse psycology blaming someone else for your evil deeds since marxists have no God they fear so they will lie shamelessly about anything they want.

      Indonesia is a MUSLIM country, this is a clear example of the types of things you find in sharia law, the religion of the false god allah, the moon god that muslims worship. Killing people who ride the top of trains has nothing to do with conservative christian beliefs, it is a marxist or islamic way of doing things, ie just exterminate without any conscience.

      Do not visit indonesia it is the largest islamic country in the world, do not support islamic or marxist countries like these, just help people to escape from them.

      January 19, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • double exposure

      exposer, the only thing you are exposing is your own ignorance. Indonesia does not have Sharia law. It is a secular country with separation of church and state (a concept I'm sure you support). It is home to 200 million very moderate Muslims much like the ones living in the U.S.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. guyinohio

    They should allow everyone to ride with paying, including the roof riders.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. sailordude

    My understanding is that Indonesia is a Democracy, why don't the people electe leaders who will buy more trains? Also, is this America's future if we let the green activists take over? Overcrowded trains?

    January 19, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • owlvan

      They have probably voted for candidates that promised more trains (or better transpiration in general) in the past but once elected failed to do anything. Sound familiar?

      January 19, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Robin

    The balls should be spiked like a mace.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. Spon

    As of 2012 Indonesia is 88.1 % muslim. How can I donate more concrete balls?

    January 19, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiredofmuhammed

      Yes, with small explosive charges set inside (hmm, shrapnel too?).

      January 19, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ben

    They should sterilize the entire nation.....that would solve ALL their problems.......

    January 19, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. caligula

    the balls could cause death, yes, but so could riding on top of the train and falling off. it has happened many times. it is extremely dangerous to ride on top of a fast moving train, so they should do whatever they can to deter people from riding on top.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Naild

    Needs more spikes.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. JRHowosso

    The government should pour taxes into the system like they do in the States....................

    January 19, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. Gregg

    So this is what a country controlled by Muslims and Communist loks lke.... what idiots... God Bless AMERICA!!!!

    January 19, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. kabuski

    Simple solution: give them welfare so they can stay home and not be forced to risk live and limb dodging those balls?

    January 19, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. richard

    It seems what the world needs is Population Control. We are adding 80 to 100 million additional people to the surface of the earth every year. Family planning, birth control, sterilization and abortion should be supported and funded by all governments of the world. Everything is on the line and any kind of decent life for all. STOP UNCONTROLLED POPULATION GROWTH.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |


    January 19, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
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