Dec 13, 2009

The local mehadrin bus

Today, for the first time ever, I took the local #11 bus - the local mehadrin line. The bus route goes through all the neighborhoods that have people that might want a mehadrin bus, and is a cicuitous route.

The situation was a bit strange. The women mostly got on in the back of the bus. There was a machine in the back for them to be able to swipe their cards for payment, but there was also a bus attendant fellow (a haredi guy) who stood mostly in the back to take payment from those who wanted to pay cash, and to help those who needed help with the card machine.

The front of the bus, when I took it, was mostly kids and teenagers. As far as adults, there was only me and one other adult at the time. Neither of us cared when a couple of the women with their kids sat in the last row of the mens section.

The front half of the bus has far fewer seats than the back half. It had 11 seats for the men, and the back half has the bulk of the seats. On this bus that I rode, the front half was mostly kids, and was not full, but the back half was packed with women and kids, standing room only.

In the front half, as in all Superbus local buses that I have been on, the 6 middle seats (3 on each side of the bus) are arranged with 2 seats facing forward and 1 seat facing backwards. For a mehadrin bus this seems to be a strange arrangement. It means that a male sitting in the seat facing backwards is looking right at the women. I noticed because that is the seat I was sitting in. It just seemed strange that they would want a mehadrin bus with everything completely separate, yet be ok with a seat facing the women directly.


  1. I wonder how the rabbonim and gedolim of 20,30 and 40 years ago rode buses that weren't mehadrin?

  2. Maybe it matters less that the men can see the women and the ikkar is to ensure that the women are kept in the back of the bus...

  3. could be. it just seemed strange they fight to have the mehadrin line, and then they have these backward facing seats... they should have pressured the bus line a long time ago to redesign the seating. I am surprised it has not already been done.

    or maybe they want those seats facing the women so somebody can keep an eye on them and make sure they dont do anything not deemed submissive...

  4. (not G)
    I suppose the guy facing backwards is the same guy who gets to surf to the web sites in order to approve them for everybody else :-).

  5. The buses weren't specially designed to be Mehadrin so of course the seating arrangement isn't suitable. Maybe a protest should be organized to force Superbus to install a curtain so men shouldn't have to sully their eyes looking at women which could lead to impure thoughts, and a soundproof partition put up so they shouldn't have to hear their voices which could be ervah. Better still there should be two buses; a men's and a women's.

  6. Awful! Just inconsiderate.
    Right now I can tell you that I could NOT ever ride backwards, barfville!

    The bus from BP to Wbg also has women sit in the back, but they face front, and when there are less men, the women can move a row or two (parallel) forward as they need the seats, but definitely not near the men. It works.

    But the invention you spoke about is archaic.

  7. P.F. - I wonder how the rabbonim and gedolim of 20,30 and 40 years ago rode buses that weren't mehadrin?

    Oleh dorot, oleh dorot, don't you know? :-)


  8. PF -

    Either there was no other option, and there is currently an alternate way. Do you think the Gedolim of yesteryear would insist on a mixed seating bus? If so, why would they? Do they need to see the women?

    Assuming that the Gedolim of yesteryear did not see a problem with a mixed seating bus - there is a concept of yeridas hadoros, and people nowadays - including non-gedolim - are not on a high level like the Gedolim of yesteryear. I dont mean to group you with the people who are on a lower level than previous gedolim, but i mean the rest of us mere mortals.

  9. Open antisemitic attack in Moldova

    An orthodox priest overthrows the Hanuka in Chisinau Moldova

  10. Anon of 11:17

    There was no need for personal sarcasim in your post. My comment simply said that we have had gedolim who didn't feel the need to impose mehadrin buses and were able to deal with their yezter hara.

  11. Once again, ignorance trumps reality. There is a Tshuva from Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld zt'l where people were asking him to advocate separate Mehadrin lorries to/from Yerushalaim. They made multiple arguments and rayos - 2 pages worth. The response from the Gadol of Eretz Yisroel? "Don't look around, and if you have a sefer, look inside"
    THAT is what the gdolim of yesteryear thought about this nonsense!


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