In 1992, Thamesway introduced the ‘citysaver’, a Southend to London express coach service to rival Southend
Transport’s X1 group of services. It was numbered originally as S1, but soon sprouted variants up to S5. The coaches
were initially all ‘secondhand’, but between September 1995 and January 1996, they were replaced by 19 brand new
Volvo coaches giving Thamesway the upper hand in the image stakes.
By 1995 route 152 had been replaced by ‘Premier 100’ and was using route branded Dennis Darts with upgraded
seating. Also by this time, route 153 had been replaced between Basildon and Grays by route 37 using Mercedes
minibuses. Also added to the portfolio was route 269 (Grays to Brentwood), a Thurrock Council contracted service as
well as the Lakeside shuttle service to Chafford Hundred station (another Thurrock Council contract).
In 1995 Badgerline group merged with GRT LTD (Grampian Regional Transport) and from 1998 this company was
known as First group. First, like Arriva, started to adopt local company identities though they never carried on the
vehicles - Thamesway thus became First Essex, along with Eastern National.........and so the story goes full circle!
But before the First identity took hold and we move on to the current First page of this site; First Thamesway, as it still
was in 1999, secured an agreement with Arriva Southend to join forces on the Southend to London express coach
services. The agreement included painting all vehicles used into the Green Line livery and re-numbering the service
as 721. The partnership lasted until 2001, when First Thamesway, which was now starting to adopt the corporate
identity and transform into First Essex, gave up it’s interest in the Southend to London express coach service.