I was originally just going to have Rhyth borrow one to pick up Keller and then return it, but I got to thinking that it would actually be very useful on a deep range mission, allowing them to split up from time to time so as to cover more ground.
As for the pre-2360s matter, I still think that the runabout-type would have been around for a while, with the Danube-Class being the newest in a long line of small modular auxiliary craft available on stations and ships.
Commander Austin Harris, First Officer, Deep Space Nine (by FltCpt. Bossco)
8.01 - Darkest Before Dawn
(Chapter 8 added, 12/09/2015)