A WOMAN says arguments broke out over social distancing after travellers were “packed like sardines” on a bus.

Maria Garrett Gotch, 42, has spoken of her shock at the number of people on a Number 1 Brighton and Hove bus on Monday.

She said passengers began shouting at the driver to limit numbers after people began standing in the gangway.

Arguments then broke out between travellers, she said, as tempers frayed over the lack of social distancing during the 5pm journey.

Brighton and Hove Bus Company said it has observed growing numbers on the Number 1 service.

READ MORE: Bus passenger fury over social distancing on Brighton bus

But it said an investigation found its 50 per cent of capacity limit was not reached and there was still space upstairs.

Ms Garrett Gotch, who has underlying health issues, said: “The gangway downstairs was blocked and people were not social distancing

“There were at least six or seven people downstairs in the gangway – packed like sardines. Arguments broke out over lack of social distancing and I got abuse for being mask exempt.

"I shouted to the driver to stop letting people on, we all did. The bus driver made one announcement for people to move upstairs which was ignored by the public.

“The driver didn’t enforce it.”

Seating capacities on buses have been reduced to “slightly below half” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Double deck buses now have 30 to 36 seats and single decks have 15.

Ms Garrett Gotch said: “He should have stopped the bus and directed people to sit down or get off, or have a bus full sign. I am an essential worker and I have disabilities so getting Covid would be frightening

“I rely on my disabled bus pass to get around, but I'm now wondering if I’m safe using the buses.”

Martin Harris, director of Brighton and Hove Bus Company, said safety is taken “very seriously” and many measures have been put in place to keep everyone safe.

The Argus:

He said: “We have investigated this incident and found that our revised capacity of less than 50 per cent of normal capacity was not breached and that there were pairs of empty seats available upstairs.

“We have posters on our buses and information on our website asking passengers to sit upstairs if they can, to support social distancing.

“We have been monitoring all services closely and having observed growing numbers on service 1 have plans already in place to add an extra three vehicles to this service, taking the number of buses operating it to 27 from 24, this coming weekend.

“This will increase the frequency of buses to every five to six minutes.

“To find out how busy any bus is before you travel visit our website where live information is available.”