BOROUGH PARK, NY (PIX11)—Mayor Bloomberg has warned the Orthodox Jewish operators of the B 110 bus in Brooklyn that the city will shut down the bus line if they continue to force women to sit in the back.
"A women who walks on that bus doesn't feel discriminated because that is the rule," said a religious, Borough Park resident who did not give his name.
Mayor Bloomberg, however, doesn't agree. The mayor called the practice an "outrage" and said that it "won't be tolerated". The Department of Transportation explained that while it is privately owned, it is considered a city franchise and must obey city rules. "The franchise is required to comply with all applicable laws and is prohibited from discriminating in the provision. Of the bus service on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, handicap, marital status, or real or perceived sexual orientation," said Seth Solomonow, DOT spokesperson.
Orthodox Jews belief in the separation of sexes. Men and women do not mix in public settings. And on the bus, that goes to Williamsburg, men sit in the front and women in the back.
"Yes on this bus we sit separately," he said.
It's an unwritten rule that exists on a bus that looks different from the MTA buses because it is owned and operated by a private bus company. The city outsourced the route to the company back in 1973 to serve the orthodox community. But recently, when a female reporter, who is not Jewish, got on the bus and was forced to the back, the practices got the city and Mayor Bloomberg's attention.
The city threatened to shut the line down if it doesn't stop discriminating. PIX11 News tried to reach the owner, but calls weren't returned.