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New Royal Express making rounds at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon

Volunteer driver Bert Gogal (left) gives people a lift on the new Royal Express at Royal University Hospital.
Volunteer driver Bert Gogal (left) gives people a lift on the new Royal Express at Royal University Hospital. RUH Foundation / Supplied

There’s a new “Royal Express” doing the rounds at Royal University Hospital (RUH) in Saskatoon.

It’s an electric cart driven by volunteers to assist patients and families in getting around the hospital’s main floor.

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According to the RUH Foundation, it replaces the original Royal Express which provided transportation to over 131,000 people since April 2011.

The Royal Express cart was purchased through the foundation’s HUG Fund Granting program, supported in part by an endowment created by Orano, formerly Areva, in 2006.

“The foundation is extremely appreciative of Orano’s support and that of other donors in making the Royal Express a reality,” RUH Foundation CEO Arla Gustafson said in a press release.

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“For those patients requiring a bit of help getting around RUH, the Royal Express and the volunteer drivers are making it less stressful and more comfortable for them in getting to their appointments.”

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The new cart made its debut on March 11 with a better system for attaching walking aids, and is equipped with a geared steering wheel rather than a manual tiller steering system.

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Bert Gogal, 77, is one of five original volunteer drivers of the Royal Express.

“The old steering system gave you a pretty good upper body workout, one that most of us drivers won’t miss,” Gogal said in a press release.

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“I am fortunate to still have good health and want to give back while I still can to those who are not as fortunate … I’d rather be helping and making it easier for people to get around the hospital than to be at home doing puzzles or watching TV.”

Orano Canada has been exploring, developing mines, and producing uranium concentrate in Saskatchewan for over half a century.