First Essex Buses Limited is owned by First Group. First Essex carries around 29 million passengers each year on a network of routes serving Essex and the surrounding areas. It arose from an amalgamation of Eastern National and Thamesway Buses, whose yellow/maroon livery has only recently disappeared. Both companies originated in the Eastern National Omnibus Company, founded in 1929, nationalised in 1949 and privatised in 1986.
The company operates 335 vehicles on 70 routes and employs 950 people in Essex, and competes to some extent with several other local operators with services in the same areas, such as Arriva Southend, Ensignbus, Regal Busways, NIBS, Stephensons of Essex.