“We do not care of what we have, but we cry when it is lost”
"52" - The Trolleybus. is the story of a beloved former Communist Institution, its last gasp and the dedicated people that try to keep it alive amidst the political and economic turmoil of the region.
In 1961 construction of the worlds longest trolley bus line was completed in record time. Located in what is today considered occupied territory by most of the world except the Russian Federation, the fully electrified fleet of buses connects the capital of the Crimean peninsula Simferopol with the famous seaside resort town of Yalta. The intercity buses travel a distance of 52 miles (86km) and unlike any other trolley bus in the world manage to navigate a mountain pass. (Angarskyi Pass -2467 ft.)
The Krymmtrolleybus institution has somehow managed to survive the changing political, social and economic currents of the last 50 years. In a region infamous for its dangerous driving conditions the Krymmtrolleybus has never the less earned a stellar safety record, while providing a vital public service to a community largely underserved by the authorities.
Although massively underfunded and working with long since outdated equipment, the dedicated employees of the Krymmtrolleybus department have managed to keep the buses running on schedule and safe at the same time. Many spare parts needed for repairs have to be made from scratch. Much of the equipment has to be meticulously maintained far beyond its designated retirement age by people well beyond theirs.
In early 2000 the Krymmtrolleybus, with the help of a popular uprising, barely survived a dubious attempt by the Ukrainian government to bankrupt the company and transfer all business to a private fleet of minibuses. Omnipresent, environmentally unregulated and unaccepting of social benefits these buses are aggressively operated in a legal grey zone.
In 2014, as the fleet of buses was finally being upgraded and things were starting to generally improve, the Russian Federation decided to annex Crimea from Ukraine. Seemingly overnight the Krymmtrolleybus institution along with the whole region was thrown into turmoil and uncertainty once again.