Driven mad: Bus driver allegedly refuses service to Orthodox straphanger amid measles outbreak in Williamsburg

The MTA is investigating claims that a city bus driver attempted to refuse service to an Orthodox Jewish man in Williamsburg last week, claiming he would infect her with the measles virus amid an outbreak of the potentially fatal illness.
Brooklyn Paper
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is investigating claims that a city bus driver attempted to refuse service to an Orthodox Jewish man in Williamsburg last week, claiming he would infect her with the measles virus amid an outbreak of the potentially fatal illness.

“It’s very, very sad,” said Rabbi David Niederman, president of United Jewish Organization. “Let me tell you, there were other Orthodox residents on the bus, and they felt threatened by it, too.”

Niederman’s group tweeted the allegations of measles-fueled anti-Semitism at the MTA Thursday morning on behalf of an unnamed, 40-year-old Orthodox man, who claims the bus driver refused to stop for him at a B57 stop near Franklin and Flushing avenues at around 9 a.m. sometime last week.

The rabbi said the bus driver did eventually allow the man onto the bus after the vehicle got caught in traffic, but that the MTA employee covered her face with her sweater, and refused to accept the man’s transfer, while shouting “Measles! Go in!”

The incident occurred just days before Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a public health emergency on April 9 in response to the spread of the measles virus amid Orthodox Jewish residents in Williamsburg, where the vast majority of nearly 300 cases of the highly infectious disease have been discovered since October.

And Niederman claimed that the bigoted bus driver isn’t the only one who’s used the measles outbreak as an excuse for anti-Semitism, claiming Williamsburg Jews are routinely insulted for an outbreak that his organization has done everything in its power to curtail.

“There’s verbal harassment on the streets,” said the rabbi. “People shouting, ‘Jews,’ and ‘measles,’ that type of stuff. We’re working very closely with Department of Health, and we’ve been very successful. There’s been 8k more vaccinatio­ns.”

The transit authority is in touch with Niederman’s organization regarding their claims, and has launched an investigation into their allegedly delinquent driver, according to MTA Chief External Affairs Officer Max Young.

“The MTA has absolutely zero tolerance for discrimination — we’re taking this issue very seriously and investigat­ing,” Young said.

De Blasio chimed in as well, saying his office has been in contact with the Transit Authority, while condemning the act of apparent anti-Semitism.

“Anti-Semitic discrimination has no place in our city,” said the mayor. “We’ve reached out to the MTA about this report and will make sure it is thoroughly investigat­ed.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 1:27 pm, May 15, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
Mass hysteria and a negative stigma by the MTA. How discriminatory by them in the serious time like this. All bus operators need to be retrain on how to properly interact with us.
April 12, 2019, 12:06 pm
James Fitzpatrick from Park Slope says:
Yes, the orthodox community has a big anti-vax problem. But we have a much larger pandemic issue from uncontrolled mass migration with zero oversight and no quarantine for masses of people with third world maladies. Children are being paralyzed. Drug-resistant fungi are now hitting every hospital. But we can't talk about this. We can talk about the orthodox community, because they aren't a PC-protect class.
April 12, 2019, 12:50 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I'm surprised the generous MTA contracts don't incentivize catching measles. The bigger danger is whatever virus ate James Fitzpatrick's brain. Keep that away from me.
April 12, 2019, 3:49 pm
Straphanger says:
Too many of these MTA "workers" are rude and unprofessional. They are not entitled to their jobs. When they are rude they should be reported to management.
April 12, 2019, 5:56 pm
Ralph Kramden from B63 says:
I’m sorry Straphanger. Maybe next time we can hold your hand and tell you comforting stories instead of trying to get millions of people to their destination daily. Or maybe you can realize that you are in NYC and no one cares about your feelings.
April 12, 2019, 10:19 pm
Avi from Williamsburg says:
"refused to accept the man’s transfer" I have a feeling that's key here. Let me paint a slightly different picture...a frum guy lets his 2hr transfer expire, gets on the 57 and keeps dipping his card until the operator tell him he needs to pay a new fare. He argues the point, to her face, maybe with a bit of spittle, and this driver makes the one mistake of using a word that makes what he did defensible and him victimized. You decide what sounds more plausible. Yes, I have met operators who were degenerates, but we are New Yorkers with enough sense to read all the fact and know what's likely to be true.
April 13, 2019, 1:03 am
Straphanger says:
Hey Kramden, How about getting an answer to a question? The trains are constantly being rerouted. Is it okay for me to ask the conductor which route it is taking so I can end up in my destination? And being from NY doesn't give anyone license to act like a jerk I grew up in Brooklyn and luckily had parents who taught me manners. Some people need to learn some. No wonder why there are so many fare beaters.
April 13, 2019, 1:07 am
Bkmanposeur from Nubrucklyn says:
I bet this is a BS claim by the Orthodox man. He still got on the bus. These Hassids need to get their shots - end of story. Move along now.
April 13, 2019, 11:52 am
Joeokojoe says:
April 13, 2019, 10:45 pm
Susan Rothenberg from Park Slope says:
To James Fitzpatrick, Those coming here from Central America, what you call third world countries, are not bring diseases with them. Yes, they are poor and desperate but to blame them for medical problems in our hospitals is completely untrue. All of the issues in the hospitals have been traced to native born persons. Please do research before posting. Have a good holiday this weekend.
April 17, 2019, 7:54 am

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