News / Asia

Indonesia's Train Surfers Highlight Traffic Woes

Indonesian men struggle to board a packed commuter train at a station in Jakarta, May 11, 2010.
Indonesian men struggle to board a packed commuter train at a station in Jakarta, May 11, 2010.
Brian Padden

The latest efforts by Indonesian authorities to stop people from riding on top of trains reinforces the perception that the government is too dysfunctional to make the needed investments to address its perpetual gridlock problem.

During the morning and afternoon rush hours many young men can be seen on riding on top of Jakarta's commuter trains. Some do it to avoid the overcrowded conditions and stifling heat inside. Others do it to avoid paying the fare of about 25 cents.

Areas Chandra, 23, says it is actually safer on the top of the train than hanging out of the open doorways. He says it is more convenient riding on the roof than next to a door where they might fall. Chandra adds that a lot of people inside the trains do fall but if they are on the roof, they can take precautions.

To stop what are called "train surfers", authorities have installed barbed wire barriers and sprayed offenders with paint. Now, they are suspending concrete balls above the tracks outside some train stations to deter the practice.

Commuter Chairul Badri says the efforts have been ineffective because an increasing number of passengers has overwhelmed the transit system's capacity.

“Until now, our government has tried to do the best thing," notes Badri, "but because [it] is more crowded and every day more and more, that it is difficult for the government to handle them.”

More than 27 million people live in Jakarta and its sprawling suburban communities. The city's roadway system is also overwhelmed and the gridlock is getting worse. Last year, Indonesia's thriving economy led to a record number of new car and motorbike sales, although new road construction has been lagging.

Suryono Herlambang, an Urban planner at Tarumanagara University says while the government talks about building new multi-billion-dollar transit systems, it lacks the political will to take the relatively easy step of increasing train service between Jakarta and the suburbs.

Herlambang says they all know that Jakarta already has the train network between Jakarta, Bekasi, Bogor, and Tangerang but improving it is not a priority for the government.

He says the long-term solution lies in increasing and improving train service in the region. But the train surfers say as long as the trains are overcrowded, they will find a way to ride on top.

 

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid