Indonesia cracks down on train 'roof riders'

Featured - July 31st, 2012

After several failed attempts to stop commuters from riding on the roof when taking a train, Indonesia’s state-run railway company will lower the electrical lines and force people inside, Asahi Shimbun reports.

According to a BBC, previous methods to encourage people down included suspending grapefruit sized concrete balls above the trains – that could deliver a severe blow to the head – to ward off ‘roof riders’. Officials have even tried appealing for help from religious leaders, but to no avail.

In addition to finally solving this problem, lowering the electric lines could allow construction of bridges over the tracks and will maximize power transmission, railway official Mateta Rizahulhaq told AP.

Fatalities from traveling on a train roof decreased from 53 in 2008 to 11 in 2011. Most victims are electrocuted by power lines, while some fell off train carriages. ‘Roof riders’ cram ticketless onto the top of the train, risking their lives and blaming the lack of space and indeed money with which to purchase legitimate seats.