New York City bus in sex discrimination storm

by Alister POOLE on October 21, 2011

New York City officials today said that they could shut down a bus service that runs through an Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood and has been accused of forcing women to occupy seats at the back.

The authorities have written to the company that operates the bus, with questions asking what they are doing with regards to preventing discrimination. The Brooklyn-based B110 bus is currently operated by a privately-run firm as part of a franchising agreement, but it is open to all members of public.

This week, a student journalist published her story reporting that a female on the bus was approached and asked to take a seat at the back. Shortly after, the New York Times reported that a female passenger on the B110 said that men and women sat apart on other similar bus services that cater for the Big Apple’s Hasidic Jewish community.

The Department of Transportation’s director, Anne Koenig, asked the company operating the B110 to make a response to the claims in her letter and advised that any practices of requiring women to take a seat at the back of the bus constitutes a direct violation of its franchise agreement and might lead to a complete termination of such an agreement.

When asked to comment on the matter at press conference on Wednesday, Mayor of New York Mike Bloomberg told gathering reporters on that the segregation of men and women is “obviously not permitted” on the city’s public buses.

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