Trains in Indonesia are so crowded that frustrated commuters often climb on top, where it’s also crowded but at least you get some fresh air. Rather than run more trains, authorities are dealing with the “train-surfing” epidemic using methods stolen straight out of Home Alone. In the past, they’ve covered train roofs with oil, or hung concrete balls over the tracks; now they’re lowering electrical lines to make train-surfing even more dangerous than it already is.
It’s having some effect, too. AFP says that tens of thousands of commuters in Jakarta ride on top of the cars, but they also talked to some schoolkids who were like “dude, are you nuts, I like getting a good seat but I also like not getting clotheslined and then fried to death by a power cable.” In theory, since train-surfing is a matter of comfort and convenience rather than necessity, making it a bigger danger or a bigger hassle ought to work. But in practice, you can’t really expect people to behave that logically. There’s no bigger hassle than a two-hour car commute in rush hour traffic, and zillions of people do that every day.
Get Grist in your inbox