Moscow elite rides retro buses

It is possible to rent a retro bus for a ride in Moscow for about $100 per hour

Old retro buses could be seen in the streets of Moscow on Saturday. A long column of “antique” buses was driving along Moscow's first bus route. It took the buses an hour and a half to reach their destination point, although 80 years ago buses covered the same distance in just 25 minutes. Moscow officials did not feel very comfortable in retro-buses, sitting on their hard seats. However, such old buses are becoming popular among rich Muscovites.

Ikarus-55 was the most common Soviet suburban bus of the 1950s. The bus proved to be absolutely useless in modern traffic jams. Its pneumatic controls were exhausted very soon, which jeopardized the undertaking on the whole.

AKZ-1, the first Soviet post-war bus was leading the column. This bus was rare even in its own age – very few of them were assembled in the post-war country. The bus still remains small and uncomfortable despite the wooden finish of the interior. The bus was not heated, its front-placed engine did not heat the saloon in winter at all, although it produced too much warmth in summer. Despite the disadvantages, AKZ-1 was the central bus of the retro ride in Moscow. It is the oldest bus ever preserved in Russia.

ZIS-155 was very popular in the Soviet Union 50 years ago. A bus of this model weighs eight tons. It was a very comfortable, albeit rather expensive bus - the first Soviet bus equipped with automatic doors. Elderly fans of old buses still argue about Mercedes stealing the design of its vehicles from Soviet buses.

Retro-buses spent several hours in the Moscow centre. Despite their “respectable age,” there was no need to tug any of them, engines worked flawlessly. As a rule, retro buses are used in movies or privately. It is possible to rent a retro bus for a ride in Moscow for about $100 per hour. The fee is almost 1.5 times as high as opposed to VIP limousines.

Mikhail Khmelev

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Author`s name Olga Savka