“It’s busy,” says Reg, one of the two drivers for the parkade courtesy shuttles on service seven days a week at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. “I usually have at least one or two people in the van with me needing to go somewhere.”

The Region Reporter joined Reg for a ride-along on a Tuesday morning to see how the shuttle service works. The van had just left the hospital entrance when his radio crackled to life… “Pick up needed at Ellis Hall.” Reg acknowledged he could take it and we entered the parkade. This is where Reg spotted his next passenger.

Reg, a very friendly and helpful shuttle driver, helps a mother load her stroller on level 5 of the parkade.  

Reg, a very friendly and helpful shuttle driver, helps a mother load her stroller on level 5 of the parkade.

“I drive slow and stop if I see someone I think may need help,” he says. “See that lady? She looks lost.”

This particular person did indeed need Reg’s help. “I have no idea how to get to my car. I think I’m on the level below,” she says.

“If you can give me a few moments to pick up another passenger, I can help you find your car,” says Reg. The lady sighs with relief, you can see how stressed she was getting and Reg just made her day. Reg jumps out of the car to open the door for her. It’s a courtesy, we learn, that he offers for all of his riders.

The shuttle service works just like a taxi with riders encouraged to wave for the driver to stop. “Most of my riders wave me down,” Reg explains. “But like this call for pick up at Ellis Hall, we do get requests.” Reg makes sure to offer people a card with the shuttle’s number as he picks them up and there are a number of posters throughout the parkade promoting the shuttle service.

We don’t get far before Reg spots another person who may need his help. This time it is a young mother holding an infant carrier and large diaper bag. It turns out she is on her way to Ellis Hall for an appointment and was hoping to see the shuttle. “I was hoping this would happen to me today,” she says as Reg helps her and baby into the van.

The shuttles are able to pick up and/or deliver patients and visitors to two entrances at the hospital as well as Ellis Hall or Dubé Centre to and from the parkade. The service is free.

“We put in this service because our main floor parking is limited and until the new Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan is built, there is no elevator access from the upper levels of the parkade,” says David Yanciw, Heliport Manager and Assistant Manager Parking and Grounds. “The shuttle allows patients and visitors to park anywhere within the parkade even if they have mobility issues. Then they phone us or wave down a passing shuttle and we make sure the shuttle delivers them to the doors of the hospital.”

Everyone the shuttle assists in the next 15 minutes of our run cannot thank Reg enough for his help. He’s always helpful, always has a smile and makes sure everyone knows where the next stop is.

On the 5th level of the parkade, as the last two passengers hop out, six more approach the van asking for assistance. It’s time to free up a seat for patients and families who need it, so the Region Reporter exits the vehicle, and as the shuttle drives away, we can hear his radio crackling again, with another request for service

The shuttles run Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pick ups can be requested by calling 306-514-7577.