/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
NEW YORK (JTA) – A Brooklyn bus company accused of forcing women to sit in the back of a public bus has promised to take action to prevent losing its contract with New York City.
Jacob Marmurstein, an executive with the Private Transportation Corp., which operates the public B110 bus route, sent a letter Tuesday to the city’s Department of Transportation denying that its drivers enforced religion-based gender segregation, but also promising to place signs on the buses confirming the policy and to “set forth the prohibition against such discriminatory conduct.” Private Transportation operates the route under a nearly 40-year-old franchise arrangement with the DOT.
The company’s actions follow a letter sent by the DOT reminding the company that requiring women to ride in the back of the bus “would constitute a direction violation of your franchise agreement and may lead to termination of that agreement.” The letter said the company could not get an exemption based on religion.
The controversy was sparked after a journalist from the New York World, a Columbia Journalism School publication, attempted to sit in the front of the B110 bus, which largely caters to the local Chasidic population, and was instructed by passengers and the driver to move to the back. Guidelines posted in the front and the back of the bus instruct women to board at the back door during crowded periods and “stand in their designated areas," according to The New York Times.
Seth Solomonow, a DOT spokesman, told reporters that “while we are pleased with the operator’s response, we will follow up with them regarding their proposed actions to prevent incidents like those that were recently reported in the press.”