Indonesia has gone to imaginative extremes to try and stop commuters from illegally riding on the roofs of train – from hosing them down with red paint to threatening them with dogs. (Daily Mail By WIL LONGBOTTOM)
But now authorities have developed an intimidating and possibly deadly new tactic – suspending rows of grapefruit-sized concrete balls to rake over the top of trains.
They hope the balls – which would deliver serious blows to the head if they didn’t knock a person off the roof of a train – will be enough to deter ‘train surfers’.
Mateta Rizahulhaq, a spokesman for the state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api, said: ‘We’ve tried just about everything, even putting rolls of barbed wire on the roof, but nothing seems to work.
‘Maybe this will do it.’
Trains that crisscross Indonesia on poorly maintained tracks left behind by Dutch coloniser six decades ago are usually packed with passengers, especially during rush hour.
The first of the concrete balls have been installed above carriage height near a station outside the capital, Jakarta.
Other attempts to deter commuters include spreading oil on the roofs and hiring musicians to perform safety songs.
In 2008, at least 53 passengers died in accidents after boarding train roofs, according to the BBC.
Most victims were electrocuted by overhead power cable, but some fall off as they trains are moving.
At peak times, 400,000 commuters cram into, or on, train carriages into the capital.
Mulyanto, 27, who rides between his hometown of Bogor and Jakarta for work, said: ‘I was really scared when I first heard about these ball.
‘It sounds like it could be really dangerous. But I don’t think it will last long. They have tried everything to keep us from riding… but in the end we always win.’
Poorer people often end up on train roofs because they are unable to afford tickets.