Hedingham Omnibuses is an Essex bus company founded by Aubrey Ernest Letch shortly after serving in World War I, with his parents' help and trading under his own name. It started as a coach hire company, but gradually expanded as Letch started running bus services to Braintree and Sudbury on their market days of Wednesday and Thursday respectively. He then bought a competing business from P W Finch of Castle Hedingham in March 1935. This allowed Letch to take over the Monday to Saturday workers' service to Braintree. In the last 1950s, he further expanded the business with routes to Gestingthorpe, Pebmarsh and Halstead.
In early 1960, Letch retired due to ill health and sold his company, which was renamed Hedingham and District Omnibuses. Since then company has grown by acquiring other companies, including Blackwells of Earls Colne, C & R Coach of Little Tey, Jennings of Ashen, Kemps Coaches of Clacton-on-Sea, W Norfolk and Sons of Nayland, Wents of Boxford, Freemans Coaches and G W Osborne of Tollesbury. In March 2012 the company was sold to the Go-Ahead Group but the existing managing team remain in place.
Hedingham operates coach hire, commercial services, school services and council contracts. Timetables for their services can be found on Traveline South East and on the Hedingham website.
Services operated as of September 2012 (excluding most school contracts):
- 1: Ashen - Sudbury (Thursdays)
- 2: Mistley - Manningtree - Tendring - Weeley - Clacton (Monday - Saturday) ECC
- 3: Colchester Town Service: Town Centre - Bridgebrook - Longridge Park - Hythe (Monday - Friday)
- 4: Colchester Town Service: Stanway (Medical Centre) - Westlands - Home Farm - Prettygate - Town Centre (Monday - Friday)
- 5: Sible Hedingham - Castle Hedingham - Sudbury (Thursdays) ECC
- 7: Stambourne - Gestingthorpe - Halstead (Tuesdays) ECC
- 7/8/8A: Clacton - Holland on Sea - Frinton - Walton (Evenings & Sundays) ECC
- 8: Toppesfield - Stambourne - Steeple Bumpstead - Haverhill (Fridays) ECC
- 9: Walton - Frinton - Kirby Cross - Great Holland (Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays) ECC
- 10: Cornish Hall End - Stambourne - Braintree (Wednesdays)
- 11: Colchester North Station - Highwoods ECC
- 14: Tiptree - Great Totham - Heybridge - Maldon - Chelmsford (Fridays)
- 14/15/ 15A: Chelmsford - West Hanningfield - Wickford ECC
- 15: Colchester North Station - Oaklands Avenue ECC
- 16/16A: Colchester Town Service: Old Heath (Speedwell Road) - St. Helena School (Schooldays) ECC
- 16: Chelmsford - Felsted - Stebbing - Finchingfield - Wethersfield ECC
- 17: West Bergholt - Stanway Secondary School (Schooldays) ECC
- 17/18: Clacton - St Osyth - Point Clear (Evenings & Sundays) ECC
- 23: Steeple Bumpstead - Braintree (Wednesdays) ECC
- 34/34A: Bocking - Braintree - Great Notley ECC
- 37: South Woodham Town Service ECC
- 50: Malting Green - Layer de la Haye - Colchester (Monday - Friday) Part ECC.To Network Colchester, 8/11.
- 50A/B/C: Tollesbury - Layer de la Haye - Colchester (Monday - Friday)
- 73A: Maldon (Lower Plume School) - Heybridge Basin (Schooldays) ECC
- 80: Fordham - Colchester - Boxted (Monday - Friday)
- 83/83A: Colchester - Earls Colne - Colne Engaine ECC
- 85: Brightlingsea - Great Bentley - Mistley (Wednesdays) ECC
- 86: Aingers Green - Great Bentley Rail Station File:National Rail logo.svg - Colchester (Wednesdays) ECC
- 87: Colchester - Wivenhoe - Brightlingsea ECC
- 88: Colchester - Earls Colne - Halstead (Monday - Saturday)
- 89: Braintree - Halstead - Hedinghams - Great Yeldham (Monday - Friday)
- 89B: Halstead - Hedinghams - Great Yeldham - Ashen - Haverhill (Fridays)
- 91/A: Witham - Kelvedon - Tiptree - Tollesbury (Monday - Fridays)
- 92: Tollesbury - Birch - Colchester (Monday - Friday)
- 95: Maldon - Heybridge - Tollesbury (Monday - Friday)
- 129: Ramsey - Harwich - The Oakleys - Stones Green - Beaumont - Clacton (Tuesdays)
- 131: Clacton Town Service Jaywick (Sheldrake) - Town Centre (Pier Ave) - Tudor Estate - Jaywick(Sheldrake) (Monday - Friday)
- 134: Clacton Town Service Holland Haven - Roaring Donkey - Town Centre (Pier Ave) - Sea Front - Holland Haven (Monday - Friday)
- 135: Clacton Town Service Great Clacton - Town Centre (Pier Ave) - Coppins Green - Constable Avenue - Retail Park - Great Clacton (Monday - Friday)
- 137: Clacton Town Service Town Centre (Jackson Road) - Burrsville Park - Shopping Village - Retail Park - Town Centre (Daily)
- 139: Clacton Town Service Brook Retail Park - Burcart Corner - Pier Avenue - Magdalen Green - Brook Retail Park (Monday - Friday)
- 176: East Mersea - West Mersea - Great Wigborough - Layer - Stanway - Colchester Town Centre - Highwoods (Mondays)
- 323: Greenstead Green - Earls Colne - Pebmarsh - Lamarsh - Middleton - Sudbury (Thursdays)ECC
- 417: Rayne - Stebbing - Great Bardfield - Finchingfield - Radwinter - Saffron Walden - Newport Grammar School (Schooldays) ECC
- 418: Great Saling - Great Bardfield - Finchingfield - Radwinter - Saffron Walden - Newport Grammar School (Schooldays) ECC
- 419: Finchingfield - Sampford - Radwinter - Saffron Walden - Newport (Schooldays) ECC
- 702: Clare Middle School - Glemsford - Sudbury Upper School (Schooldays).Ceased after 22/7/11.
- 706: Lavenham - Sudbury (Schooldays). Ceased after 22/7/11.
ECC - Essex County Council Contract
The company's depot codes and locations are: HD (Hedingham):
- Wethersfield Road, Sible Hedingham
- Stephenson Road, Gorse Lane Industrial Estate, Clacton
- Brunel Road, Gorse Lane Industrial Estate, Clacton (workshop)
- Iconfield site, Parkeston, Harwich - outstation of CN
- Unit 8, 215-7 High Street, Kelvedon
- Church Lane, Little Tey - outstation of KN
- Meekings Road, Chilton Industrial Estate, Sudbury, Suffolk
- 62 New Road, Tollesbury
Hedingham Omnibuses' standard livery is cream with red relief, previously being blue and cream. The livery vaires between single deckers/ coaches and double deck buses, with red being the main colours on double deckers with cream relief. The recent arrivals from Brighton & Hove (bus company) retaining their former livery with Hedingham fleetnames.
Hedingham Omnibuses has been criticised three times for incidents involving disabled people. In 2007 and February 2008, its drivers were criticised by Tendring Community Transport for leaving their vehicles unattended in special bus stops in Station Road and Pier Avenue in Clacton meant for services for disabled and vulnerable people, blocking designated services from using the stop. In September 2008, a disabled man was unable to board a bus as the wheelchair area was full with buggies. The mothers refused to fold their buggies to let the man on board the bus, despite the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 giving priority to wheelchair users. The bus driver refused to get involved and enforce the Act, so the disabled man had to wait half an hour for the next bus. The company responded by saying that they would put up posters from Essex County Council telling passengers to give up the wheelchair space to disabled people.
Two former Hedingham Omnibuses (Bristol VRTs RUA 461W, HJB 455W) masqueraded as London Buses in the 2009 Doctor Who Easter special, Planet of the Dead. The original livery can be seen in the accompanying behind-the-scenes special Doctor Who Confidential: Desert Storm.
- Hedingham Omnibuses (4 December 2004). Hedingham Omnibuses - Company history. Retrieved on 2009-07-30.[dead link]
- Hedingham Omnibuses (4 December 2004). Go-Ahead acquires Hedingham Omnibuses. Retrieved on 2012-03-05.
- Claire Owen (February 15, 2008). Echo News: Clacton: Bus drivers' behaviour "disgraceful". Retrieved on 2009-07-30.
- Claire Owen (September 16, 2008). Echo News: Clacton: disabled Dominic angry after being turned away from bus. Retrieved on 2009-08-08.
- Official Hedingham Omnibuses website
- Essex Bus Enthusiasts Group
- Showbus pictures
- Complete History of Hedingham Omnibus Bristol VR's
- Hedingham Bus Blinds
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