A STUDENT was embroiled in a 20-minute stand-off with a driver who tried to chuck her off a bus for boarding with a pizza.

Chloe Whiteside was hungry after finishing her shift at Harvester and grabbed a takeaway but she was told she could not catch the last bus home because she was carrying hot food.

The 18-year-old explained she had no money or any other means of getting home other than using the 12.39am service from St George’s Street, in Hove, to Portslade.

She refused to alight and the driver refused to move until she did – resulting in a 20-minute delay to the service.

She rang her mother who told her to stay on the bus.

Her mother Leona Whiteside, of Foredown Drive in Portslade, has lodged a formal complaint with the Brighton and Hove Bus Company and said she was “disgusted”.

She said: “Chloe was so upset when she called. I could hear the way they were speaking to her, it was terrible.

“She is a hardworking girl and she just wanted to get home safely.

“She is a Bus ID Saver user and a child in the eyes of the company.

“They should be ashamed at the way they treated a young girl.

“The pizza was in a box and she had no intention of eating it on the bus.

“I can’t drive and was unable to go and pick her up – we both rely on the buses to get to work and college.”

A spokesman confirmed company policy does not prohibit passengers from carrying hot food on the bus. But they are not allowed to eat it while travelling.

Adrian Tullett, head of operations at Brighton and Hove Bus Company, said: “We are aware of this incident and apologise for any offence that may have been caused.

“It is expected our staff enforce our policies.

“We accept that in this incident the hot food was not being eaten so the matter will be investigated with the staff members concerned.

“In addition, we will use this opportunity to review our policy on the carrying of food and drink aboard our vehicles.”