85 years of service spans generations for the Blameys

85 years of service spans generations for the Blameys

Colin and Ross pictured holding Ray Blamey's BC Transit jacket​
Colin and Ross pictured holding Ray Blamey’s BC Transit jacket​

For Colin Blamey and his father, Ross Blamey, a career in transit runs in the family.

It all started in 1937, when Ross’ uncle, Frank Blamey, started working as a bus operator for BC Electric. The company looked after the streetcar, bus and trolleybus systems in Greater Vancouver and Victoria at the time.

In 1972, Frank suggested Ross’ father, Ray, join BC Hydro — the power-utility company that took over transit after BC Electric — and the Blameys’ connection with transit grew stronger.

Ray worked as a machinist at the Cambie Street garage, eventually retiring from transit as the Machine Shop Foreman at the Burnaby Transit Centre bus depot.

Both Frank and Ray had long, storied career in transit, achieving 35 and 20 years of service respectively.

“It’s always been a family business for us.”

Fast-forward to 10 years later – it’s July 1983 and BC Hydro has morphed into Metro Transit. He didn’t know it at the time, but when Ross started working a summer job in what is now Farebox Revenue, he began his 39-year (and counting!) career with the company. He would go on to work in various positions including 17 years in Operations.

“I liked the people I worked with and it felt like a natural fit,” said Ross. “Over the years and after starting a family, Coast Mountain Bus Company has always been a good place to work.”

Coast Mountain Bus Company is the operating company that is responsible for delivering much of the region’s bus service. It was established in 1999 after TransLink took over transit in Metro Vancouver from BC Transit.

In 2005, Ross joined the Service Design team and is currently in the role of Scheduling Manager. Ross is responsible for overseeing the development of quarterly bus schedules while mindful of various stakeholder’s interests.

Encouraged by Ross and Grandpa Ray, along with the flexibility a casual position would offer while he was at university, Colin applied and joined Coast Mountain Bus Company in 2018 as a Casual Community Shuttle Operator.

“When you’re working as an Operator, you’re interacting with the public and you need that open-mindedness to work with different people,” said Ross. “I had the opportunity to ride the bus with Colin one day and he was very calm and had a knack with people.” ​

Room to grow

Eventually, Colin joined the Operations Supervisor in Training Program (OSIT). It was a great opportunity for Colin to get a sense of the role, if it was something he wanted to pursue full-time, and if he was a good fit as a supervisor. After a year and a half, he became a full-time Operations Supervisor in April 2021.

“It’s a great career and depending on what you want to do, CMBC offers stepping stones with many people starting out as Transit Operators. There’s plenty of room to grow, whether it’s training others, focusing on Operations, participating in OSIT, assisting as a Transit Supervisor, or staying on the road as an Operator – there are a lot of benefits,” said Colin.

Where Colin’s role looks at the day-to-day operations of the business, Ross is focused on planning for the future. Both are part of the Surrey Service Review Committee, where Colin helps communicate challenges Operators may have on the road, escalating it to Scheduling, Planning and Service Analysis if needed, and relaying when changes are made to Operators’ runs. When service hours are added, Ross’ side of the Committee looks at how to implement changes and cost-effective solutions for schedules.

“My dad passed away recently, and we had a lot of his memorabilia from work at his celebration of life,” said Ross. “He was proud to work for CMBC and he was also very proud when both Colin and I started working here, too. He took that to heart.”

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