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Indonesian train roof fare-dodgers given the brush off

Foul-smelling brooms purge carriages of surfing commuters

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Indonesian train operators have come up with yet another ingeniously cruel system designed to discourage fare-dodging commuters from blagging a free ride on the roof of their carriages - this time involving brooms covered in putrid gunk.

Fresh from the success of its plans to dislodge the pesky roof-dwellers with small concrete balls hung from frames above the tracks, state-run railway PT Kereta Api Indonesia came up with the slightly less deadly idea of the stinky brooms, which will be installed at selected crossing this week, Mainichi Daily News reports.

"For anyone who is still up there, it'll be like a whip," said railway official Ahmad Sujadi.

"Some people say it’s inhumane, but that's fine because letting them ride on the roofs is even more inhumane."

The problem with the concrete ball strategy, apparently, is that it can only be used on non-electric tracks. Amazingly, no deaths have yet been reported on the routes where it is used, the paper said.

Dozens of these "rail surfers" are killed or injured each year after falling off the train or being electrocuted by the overhead cables, but the train company isn't worried about adding a few more to that number in the short term if it discourages the habit in the long term.

For the record, the recipe of aforementioned putrid gloop was not disclosed.

All in all, probably something to be thankful for next time the 07.42 to Charing Cross is delayed again. ®

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