Women no longer have to sit in the back of the bus in Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn

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Sure, the year may be 2011, and the place may be New York City, but women were still being told they had to sit in the back of a bus. The public B110, which is run by the (strangely-named) Private Transportation Corporation under a franchise agreement with the city, has been serving Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn since 1973. And since then, despite how inconceivable it sounds, women and men have been segregated on the bus.

After The New York World printed an expose about a female passenger who was told by Orthodox Jewish men to sit in the back of the B110, Mayor Bloomberg, The New York Times, and other media outlets jumped on the story. It turns out that the buses claimed not to discriminate against female passengers, but there were still signs posted in the front and the back of the buses that said, "when boarding a crowded bus with standing passengers in the front, women should board the back door after paying the driver in the front” and “when the bus is crowded, passengers should stand in their designated areas."

Of the men who insisted that the female passenger move to the back, The New York World reports,

"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."

Now, though, after much-needed publicity has been spread, the New York City Department of Transportation sent a letter to the Private Transportation Corporation, telling them to end these practices. And, ostensibly, they are working to do so. Yeah, first-wave feminist movement! Still making unexpected waves in the twenty-first century.