The city is looking for a new operator for a private bus company that caters to ultra-Orthodox Jews traveling from the kosher enclaves of Borough Park to the Hasidic haven of Williamsburg.
Some Hasidim fear a gentile company could take over the line and might run routes on Saturdays, fail to separate men and women riders, and stop giving discounts to yeshiva students.
“If it operates on shabbos, then people will completely stop using it,” said Hasidic activist Isaac Abraham.
Of particular concern to religious riders is a phrase in the city’s request for proposals that calls on the winning operator to provide service “seven days per week.”
A Jewish-owned company, Private Transportation, has run the religious route for the last 37 years, but not during the sabbath.
Jacob Marmurstein, owner of Private Transportation, uses a board of consulting rabbis to toe the line. Men sit in the first four or five rows with women and strollers in the back.
Right now, the route begins outside Mendel’s Pizza on 18th Avenue and 50th Street in Borough Park. Buses run about every 20 minutes.