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. Terrible Rappin In Me Skull

    One can predict a surviving and now highly irritated freeloader will lower the balls sufficient to reciprocate message.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    So, grease, fire hoses, and fines didn't work. Hmmm. I'd pay the guy building the goal post about $4 for a little quality time with his wrenches and bolt cutters. The entire contraption would be missing before the end of the week. Four of those units would make great framing for a small home in Indonesia.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RayetWolf

    Maybe a shredder at roof level would do that trick. Then high pressure water hoses to clean the train up some.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ScottHB

    Here's a thought: Add a couple passenger cars!

    January 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • tzvikf

      Logic and common sense? If the Indonesian governement is anything like the USA's then nothing logical or intelligent will happen/

      January 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ally

    A friend of mine has traveled in Indonesia and has had to ride these trains. She said the company over sells tickets and you have to pay an extra premium to be assured a seat inside. In that picture, most of the people on the roof have paid for a seat. There's just no room.

    So those of talking about "illegals deserving it" ...that's a small part of the problem.

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

    Let me see if I see this correctly. The problem is not the free-loading riders, it is a lack of equipment. Shall I therefore conclude that if those same free loaders were to pay for their ride, that the rail company might buy or put into service more trains? Seems like the US problem of illegal aliens – they just want to come here for "opportunity" but in doing so denies Americans of that same opportunity. Looks like the deterrents are a great idea!!!!

    January 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      The majority of the people on the roof in that picture have likely paid for a ticket. The company over sells seats knowing there's overflow room on the roof. A friend of mine experienced this...and had to pay a higher fare for a "guaranteed" seat inside. It's sick.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John M.

    wow, resorting to "well, lets kill them, that will stop them"

    January 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. getout

    who cares, indonesia is a toilet

    January 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. getout

    i think this will help clean out the gene pool, i am picturing some guy getting skulled by one of those concrete balls

    January 18, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Indy

    I see a opportunity here for a video game. Bola bola ball.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bubba

    Looks like I'll start selling helmets in Indonesia !

    January 18, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John M.

    paid riders forced to ride on top get killed too?

    January 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Eric

    Everybody knows they're up there, so it's not a "death sentence." It would be suicide, and that's not the railroad's fault.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. The Libertarian

    The accompanying photo is every liberals fondest dream: everyone equally poor and using mass transit.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • John M.

      watch out before the 1% causing other great depressing b/c they are will to pay off lobbyists to pay off gov. representatives to keep the backbone of america down which would lead us to another great depression to do greed and the republican party that only considers the 1% interests. The great depression and the near miss great depression were both caused by republicans administrations

      January 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ben35

    We should implement measures similar to this to prevent illegals from entering this country. We can put in bear traps at strategic areas. We can dig holes and add spikes. The possibility are endless.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
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