Tillingbourne Bus Company was a bus company based in Cranleigh, Surrey. The company operated bus
and coach services in Surrey, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire from 1924 until 2001.
It was founded as Tillingbourne Valley in 1924, and became a limited company in 1931, taking the name
Tillingbourne Valley Services. It initially operated routes in the Guildford area from a garage in Chilworth
using small single-deck buses painted in a maroon livery. Coach hire, and excursions began in 1931, but two years later these activities split into a separate company, Tillingbourne Valley Coaches, which operated independently for a further 24 years. Until 1970 Tillingbourne was owned and managed by three generations of the Trice family, before being sold to Trevor Brown.
The company changed its name to Tillingbourne Bus Company in 1972, changing its livery to blue and yellow, and moved to a garage in Gomshall in the same year. A second garage in Ewhurst was opened in 1974. An expansion of operations in the late 1970s and early 1980s, much of it through the award of county council contracted routes, took the company's vehicles into West Sussex and Hampshire as well as Surrey. Tillingbourne took over the services of London operator Orpington & District following that company's collapse in 1981. These were run separately from the main company as Tillingbourne (Metropolitan) which, in 1983, was sold to its management to form Metrobus, now part of the Go-Ahead Group. The company moved garages again in 1980, settling in Cranleigh. A new, larger garage in the same town was opened in February 2001. Deregulation of local bus services in 1986
led to further expansion, including the establishment in 1989 of a new brand, Hobbit, for Tillingbourne's minibus operations. A high-quality coaching subsidiary, Dorking Coaches, was also operated towards the end of Tillingbourne's life.
Tillingbourne began operations with a single vehicle, expanding to operate around 70 buses by 2001. A range of types were operated, including early Thornycroft and Dennis vehicles, and later Guy and Bedford products. The company's fleet was updated in the 1990s with new Volvo and Optare vehicles. Following Tillingbourne's closure, its fleet was disposed of, with vehicles sold to Shamrock Coaches, Norfolk Green, Black Prince Buses, Safeguard Coaches, Arriva Guildford & West Surrey and Islwyn Borough Transport.
continuation in model form...
2017 to Present ---- LC Group (London Country Group - Alan Graves)
Livery: Yellow with three Blue diagonal stripes
LC Group purchased Tillingbourne from CoSE Group in December 2017 who has been
operating Tillingbourne in model form since 2002. The deal included two depots, Guildford &
New Haw (excluding buses) and
nearly 40 public/school routes.
After the takeover was completed, the New Haw depot was transferred over to G&WS
and its routes were divided up between Guildford&West Surrey and London&Country.
Livery was changed to an all over yellow with three diagonal dark blue strips near the
end on each side. Logo was also changed to coincide with LC Group font/livery scheme
which is ‘Lato Heavy’ font.
We now only operate a total of 9 bus services in the Guildford area.
2002 to 2017 ---- CoSE Group (Counties South East - Steve Ditchburn)
Depots: Guildford and New Haw
Livery: Yellow with Blue skirt and rear, Orange swirl
In 2002 CoSE (Counties South East) took over Tillingbourne in model bus form along with their
routes. The chosen operating name and colours is that of an old independent of the past.
The initial fleet was made up of acquired vehicles from the previous operators, including
re-bodied coaches by Plaxton and Willowbrook as well as vehicles transferred across from elsewhere in the group. Gradually, the fleet was upgraded, standardising on Mercedes powered vehicles of Optare or Mercedes manufacture.
Tillingbourne livery before takeover, 2017