This is outrageous.From Sasha Chavkin at The New York World:
On the morning of October 12, Melissa Franchy boarded the B110 bus in
Brooklyn and sat down near the front. For a few minutes she was left in
silence, although the other passengers gave her a noticeably wide
berth. But as the bus began to fill up, the men told her that she had to
get up. Move to the back, they insisted.
They were Orthodox Jews with full beards, sidecurls and long black
coats, who told her that she was riding a “private bus” and a “Jewish
bus.” When she asked why she had to move, a man scolded her.
“If God makes a rule, you don’t ask ‘Why make the rule?’” he told
Franchy, who rode the bus at the invitation of a New York World
reporter. She then moved to the back where the other women were sitting.
The driver did not intervene in the incident.
The B110 bus travels between Williamsburg and Borough Park in
Brooklyn. It is open to the public, and has a route number and tall blue
bus stop signs like any other city bus. But the B110 operates according
to its own distinct rules. The bus line is run by a private company and
serves the Hasidic communities of the two neighborhoods. To avoid
physical contact between members of opposite sexes that is prohibited by
Hasidic tradition, men sit in the front of the bus and women sit in the
The arrangement that the B110 operates under can only be described as
unorthodox. It operates as a franchise, in which a private company,
Private Transportation Corporation, pays the city for the right to
provide a public service. Passengers pay their $2.50 fare not by
MetroCard, but in dollar bills and coins. The city’s Franchise and
Concession Review Committee defines a franchise on its website as “the
right to occupy or to use the City’s inalienable property, such as
streets or parks, for a public service, e.g., transportation.”
I hope that some of the occupiers in New York decide to get out of the rain today by riding the B110 bus.