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. sailingStu

    Where is the "right" to get to school without paying the fare? Sounds like a bunch of occupy Wall Street types to me. They want something for nothing and eveyone else should pay for it........

    January 18, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      This comparison is illogical, but thanks for the obligatory OWS bashing.
      Now, please make my day and blame Obama.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • AustinGuy

      Since when do our public school kids pay a fare to take a school bus?

      January 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Seola

    Please – I see right through your veiled attempt at weeding out Indonesia's best hurdlers to gain an edge during the Olympics!

    January 18, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    Who Cares? This is a story in Indonesia. Can we just worry about America for a change? We shouldnt have an opinion on this – seriously –

    January 18, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • mfx3

      Many of us consider ourselves more than Americans, we consider ourselves a part of the human race. As such, we are interested in stories beyond our borders. Some are not as shallow and ethnocentric as others.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Tlady

      Matt... you must be no older than age 21. Anyone, regardless of political affiliation should realize that what happens in one part of the world affects another. Just like a ripple in the pond. Grow up, and get smart. Go to school.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |

      you should have ended that with they are also not white to fully express your idiocy

      January 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vargos

      I just hope they post the video of these criminals getting their heads split open!

      January 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Akira

    Seems that poverty and an insufficient transit system are mainly to blame for these instances of roof riders.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. mfx3

    For your protection, citizen.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. tnette

    Oh my goodness @ the picture. Wowzers.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rogan

    Frankly, they should just put benches on tops and sides of the trains and start selling tickets. They way, the riders could still ride, and the train company would make more money. Also, when selling roof and side tickets, make the riders sign release of liability waivers so the train company is not responsible for any injury resulting from riding in these unsafe ways. Problem solved.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Release of liability waivers, seriously? None of these people would sue. Indonesia isn't America.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Terry

    The rail company could accomplish the same thing by building gate blocks outside of each station. It appears that the "Ball and Chain" approach is only temporary, trying to get their point across prior to implementing a Stationary Cow Catcher that will push roof riders off the train and direct them into catch nets that prevent them from rolling under the train's wheels. I guess I will take Roof Riding off my Bucket List.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kate

    This is very common in Jakarta too, we saw it throughout our time there. The roof on most commuter trains was packed with people. Imagine a train like the Chicago 'L' train racing around elevated curves, packed with people and the doors DON'T CLOSE. You literally could trip and fall out of the train. It's completely different from the US – nothing about it compares to any of our systems. The trains are packed inside and out, most pay, some don't. I say if you can't prevent this without killing the riders on top, just let it go. Many of the roof riders in Jakarta were commuting for jobs. If they can't afford transportation, how are they suppsoed to get to their jobs? If you don't like free loaders, don't destroy their only means of getting to work.

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

      well said

      January 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joel

    What I want to know is whether the "roof riders" are evading fares, or whether they paid and there is no capacity on the trains. I suspect the former, but I don't know - even with the last paragraph of the article. Too open for interpretation.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ramil

    It is sad, that readers make fun of people travelling on roof and calling them freeloaders. I hope you all knwo that these people are not doing this for fun or to avoid fare. The trains are so crowded but still people need to go to work or places they cant avoid. What will you do in such situation? I can tell you you will do exactly the same thing these people are doing. Its not for fun for sure. Instead of building more capacity, the govt decides to hurt people.. Bravo

    January 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      It's illegal and there is no justification for not paying.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I hope you get hit with a concrete ball.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |

      bill- so a $5 fare is worth potential killing people? killing is also a crime

      January 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • DO NOT CARE!!!!!!

      Go For It!!!! Take'em out anyway you can!!!! Bullets, Electricity, Acid Spray – GET RID OF THE FREE LOADERS!!!!!!

      January 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • paulnielsensql

      Bill, read the whole sotry and look at the picture. does it look like there's enough room to fit more people inside the train. these are not free-loaders, they are hard working family providers trying to get the work. The solution is not to kill people for trying to get to work, the solution is more trains.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vargos

      @NOT MY CHAIR... yes! The trains aren't breaking the law like these reatards are. Break the law, pay the price.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hop

    Oh....it's never *my* fault....

    January 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jeremy

    they just made train riding a game show...lol

    January 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    A 220 Vote Roof would keep people off i bet.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |

    well its good to see that America is not the only country that puts individuals companies profit over human life and country prosperity

    January 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vargos

      Let the freeloading thieves pay! Nothing like welfare to make you bleeding heart liberals act like retards and think everyone is owed something for nothing. Get the chip off your shoulder and work for living like the rest of us.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
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