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. the Punmaster

    Finally, someone has the balls to do something about this problem.

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

    They need to start maintaining and adding new trains to the dilapitated train system. It never ceases to amaze me how other countries live so primitively...the result of a incompetent or corrupt government. Thank god I live in Canada...the best country in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris from Ohio

    Mr. Prasetyo, with RIGHTS comes RESPONSIBLITY. If you want to ride the rain it is your RESPONSIBILTY to purchase a ticket. If you cannot afford one WALK!

    January 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dominic Lavallee

      You have no clue of what is going on outside your own little world.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    If it is true that there are not enough trains and people are obviously willing to ride on the roof, why not add seats to the roof of the trains and charge people a discounted fee to ride on top of the train? Seems like they could kill two birds with one stone that way.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. REEKO

    Maybe they should give everyone a bike. Probably wouldn't cost any more money than what they've spent on trying to get kids killed.

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

    Lets see now you have the electrical contact on the trains, than you add doors at the tunnells , that are lets say 12 inch opening and not enough not enough room for safety ok lets just resort to concret cannon balls hanging from over passes! Why dont they just electrify the roofs of the trains with out it harming the paying passengers in the train?

    January 18, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. A no. 1

    Sounds like something Shack (Ernest Borgnine) would have approved doing in Emperor of the North.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Colin in Florida

    "Adi told the Globe the real problem isn't freeloading riders, but that there aren't enough trains to accommodate demand." And why aren't there more trains? Because so many people ride for free they have no money to buy more trains.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DisReverent

    While there are inherent danger that the riders face (at there own risk), by illegally riding on top of the train, I can't see purposefully putting something in place to harm them. If the concrete balls don't do the trick, what's next? Snipers?

    January 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DisReverent

      I meant "their" not "there".

      January 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Phindm

    I am not sure how one can consider riding on the roof of a train safe.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |

    I can't wait for the video....

    January 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jesh

    Human Rights? It's a RIGHT to jump on top of a train and not pay? This world needs to grow some balls.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. wizard

    The railroads in the US have used veritcal, hanging steel cables strung over the rails to "clean" the roofs of bums, for years. Check out the routes near a city and see the dangling steel cables and you will see where Obama's homeys got the idea.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Boogie

    no no...overpopulation isn't an issue anywhere in the world...go back to your homes...nothing to see here...lol

    January 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sumday

    speeding is a minor infraction too and also carries the risk of death if you get into an accident maybe those human rights people should protest the laws of physics bc clearly the laws of physics are wrong to punish someone so harshly for a minor infraction.

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

      I hear the roof riders will now be riding with sledge hammers.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
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