Sunday, February 01, 2015 2:02:00 PM
Ken Dolney didn’t know if driving a bus was his calling. But after working in retail and as an inspector at American Can, he decided to give it a shot. His decision to take a chance led to a 38-year career at Metro Transit. Dolney began working as an operator out of the old Snelling Garage on May 10, 1976, and worked there until it closed in favor of the new East Metro Garage. In 1980, Dolney became a dispatcher and worked closely with his fellow operators to make sure all the daily service needs were covered. “As a driver, your customers are the general public,” Dolney said. “As a dispatcher, your customers are the drivers you see every day.” Dolney said he enjoyed interacting with other drivers, especially when it involved giving Vikings fans a hard time (Dolney is a Green Bay Packers fan and shareholder). Working as an overnight dispatcher also allowed Dolney to spend a few hours each day with his son, Terrance Dolney, who also worked in dispatch at East Metro. Dolney’s wife, oldest son and daughter also worked at Metro Transit as operators. Dolney continued to drive periodically until he retired in February 2015, often on days when drivers were most in need. Driving in difficult conditions led to two memorable outings – one in which it rained so hard customers had to pick up their feet to avoid the water flowing through the bus and another in which the bus broke down, leaving him stranded and alone without heat for several hours. While the job had its challenges, Dolney enjoyed working with and advocating on behalf of the people he worked with. In addition to his job as a dispatcher, Dolney was a 24-year member of the ATU Board of Directors and said he is proud to have made numerous positive changes. In retirement, Dolney plans to spend time in Florida and to continue participating in some of the political- and church-affiliated groups he joined over the years, as well as the St. Croix Valley Corvette Association.