New York City's Department of Transportation has threatened to revoke its contract with a bus company that makes women sit in the back.
The Private Transportation Corp. runs the public B110 bus route under a nearly 40-year-old franchise arrangement with the city. The bus runs between the heavily Orthodox Jewish-populated neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Borough Park. It does not run on the Jewish Sabbath and signs posted inside the bus ask female riders to pay the driver in the front and then board from the back door when the bus is crowded, according to the New York Times.
The bus line's segregation gained notoriety in recent days following an article in The New York World, a Columbia Journalism School publication. The New York Times, New York Post and a host of other news outlets, as well as bloggers, also publicized the story.
The Department of Transportation sent a letter to the bus company on Oct. 19 reminding the Private Transportation Corp. that requiring women to ride in the back of the bus "would constitute a direct violation of your franchise agreement and may lead to termination of that agreement." The letter said that the company could not get an exemption based on religious grounds.
At a news conference last week, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that segregating men and women on public buses was “obviously not permitted.”
“Private people: you can have a private bus,” the mayor said. “Go rent a bus, and do what you want on it.”