If you’ve ever traveled along the corridors of Royal University Hospital (RUH), it’s likely you’ve heard the distinctive sound of the Royal Express approaching.

The small motorized vehicle rings its bell when it’s heading towards blind corners and when approaching crowds of people, so those on foot can ensure they step out of the way of the Express and its passengers.

A Royal Express volunteer

The Royal Express and its dedicated volunteers are ready to help those with mobility issues get around Royal University Hospital

The Royal Express, operated by trained volunteers, transports patients, families and visitors with limited mobility to various areas and departments of the hospital between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., five days a week.

The Royal Express Volunteer program started in August 2011 and currently has 17 regular volunteer drivers, who are kept busy. Between January and August of this year, over 15,000 people received a ride on the Express and 1,368 volunteer hours were logged.

“The dedication of our volunteers is amazing; there could be a blizzard, flooded streets with rain and hail; it doesn’t matter. The volunteers show up with smiles on their faces, all set for their shift and ready to help keep the Royal Express program up and running,” said Gillian Higgins, Manager, Volunteer Workforce with Saskatoon Health Region.

“I’d like to give a huge thank you to all the Royal Express Drivers who dedicate their time to such a vital volunteer program at RUH,” she added.

RUH Foundation funds the Royal Express through  HUG grants.