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A crowded KRL electric multiple unit train with passengers riding on the outside in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012

An atapper[1] (from atap, the Indonesian word for "roof" also called a roofer or roof surfer) is someone who rides on top of a train, particularly in Indonesia.[2] In Indonesia the government sees them as a nuisance and embarrassment, however, residents claim that they have no choice because they cannot be late for work, and public transit efforts are beyond woefully inadequate.[2] Most of the people who ride on top tend to be risk-seeking young males, as it is dangerous.


Indonesia, especially Greater Jakarta has a huge problem with atappers, or urban dwellers who ride on top of trains, especially since the late 90s, as gridlock grips this metropolis of 30 million without a single metro system, and the city comes up with unique coping mechanisms, such as car jockeys. Jakarta traffic is the most gridlocked in Southeast Asia,[citation needed] perhaps among the worst worldwide, it has built bus rapid transit, but with little success, as there is no separation from traffic and every inch of roadway is usurped by motorists, usually motorbikes but also private cars, as they flout traffic rules, bus transit becomes stuck in gridlock. The intense tropical heat and urban heat island effect also makes the top the only place on the train with plenty of air circulation.

Nowadays,[when?] due to a rising number of fatalities from atapping on an electrified rail and operation of KRL Jabotabek, atapping has been declining significantly. However, atappers can still be seen on cheap, crowded diesel trains. Now, there are no passengers riding on the roof of the train in Indonesia since July 2013 onwards, because of the better security systems to avoid free riders to ride the train. Mostly, the atappers are the free riders who don't have a ticket to ride the train.

Trains in India and Bangladesh are also infamous for atappers, but in Indonesia they stay on top of the roofs rather than hanging off the sides.

As of 2013 however the KAI (Indonesian train company) have improved the condition of the station and its old trains for KRL Jabodetabek, attapers are forbidden from getting onto the roof.


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