Taxi drivers in Letterkenny are using hybrid and electric cars as part of a new HSE pilot project to transport renal dialysis patients.

Currently, renal dialysis patients from Letterkenny University Hospital are transported on a daily basis to attend their essential appointments by local taxi hackney services managed by Local Link.

These petrol and diesel taxis travel 1.3 million kilometres every year in providing this service.

A HSE spokeswoman said: "It is estimated that savings of €60,000 a year in fuel costs alone could be achieved if these taxis were electric."

She added: The taxi drivers have been recording their fuel consumption, fuel costs, and mileage throughout December and January.

"The findings from this trial will be presented at a Local Link conference in Bundoran on April 4."

Sean Murphy, hospital manager, with other representatives at the launch of the initiative. Photo: Clive Wasson.

Environment Minister Denis Naughten TD said: “This is the type of pilot project that has the potential to be expanded across the country.

"The Government has introduced a series of measures, including grants, to purchase an electric vehicle and install home charger points to encourage businesses and car owners to move to electric."

Letterkenny University Hospital general manager Sean Murphy said: “The Renal Dialysis Transport service is a critical element of the renal service at Letterkenny University Hospital and brings patients from all over the county to the hospital for their dialysis."

Letterkenny University Hospital general manager Sean Murphy.

He added: "We are delighted to have the support of all of the partners involved in this project which will make this transport service much more environmentally friendly and it is my hope that we can build on it."

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