This is the story of a family business being born, nurtured and grown and still owned by the same family three-quarters of a century on. Robertsons is truly driven by experience since 1947.
Now synonymous with transport in Shetland, Robertson’s beginnings were somewhat humbler! Established as R. Robertson Taxi Hire by merchant seaman Robbie Robertson with a single seventeen-year-old Humber, initial expansion was gradual, but by the 1960s Robbie had been awarded several school transport contracts and with them came the company’s first minibuses.
In 1973 Robbie's son, Tommy, joined the business and the name became R. Robertson & Son. Together, they purchased the village shop in Ulsta, Yell to compliment the transport operation. Ulsta Shop remained in the Robertson family until 2007.
Upon Robbie’s passing in 1979 the business passed to Tommy who oversaw steady expansion with the opening of a new depot and commercial garage in West Sandwick, Yell in 2008. Trading as Yell Autos, it is Yell’s only motor repair garage. Tommy’s dedication to the business saw the company expand across the Yell Sound to the Shetland Mainland, with the opening of a depot in Sella Ness in 2014 and Lerwick in 2016. The Lerwick depot is now the company’s largest, and it is from these bases that Robertson’s operate a number of local bus services, school contracts and have become a major player in the private hire and tour market.
Tommy sadly passed away in 2018 after a long battle with cancer, but his mark was truly left on the business, which by this time operated a fleet of thirteen vehicles.
Today, R Robertson & Son is managed by Tommy's daughter Sonia who has been involved with the business since 2003. Sonia’s sole aim is to maintain the family business in her father and grandfather’s honour and with that aim in mind has overseen Robertson’s largest expansion yet. In 2022, Robertson’s operated their first hires off the islands, with the start of private hires and tours on the UK mainland operated on behalf of national and international travel agencies as well as local customers looking to get away.
Having celebrated the company’s 75th Anniversary in 2022, with a fleet of twenty-one, R Robertson & Son are now Shetland’s largest transport operator and with Sonia’s focus on continued growth and success, the next 75 years are set to be even more interesting!
R.Robertson and Son Ltd Key Staff Members
- Sonia Robertson (Managing Director)
- James Henderson (Engineering Manager)
- Jez Charlton (Office & Accounts Manager)
- Sam Seatter (H & S Manager)
- Alex Johnson (Operations Manager)