The troubled Fairfield Cab Co., which the state planned to shut down Wednesday for its "free-for-all" operations, was sold this week to Yellow Cab of Bridgeport.

The transfer of ownership was approved by the state Department of Transportation on Wednesday. The new owner's distinctive yellow taxis were dispatched to the downtown Fairfield Railroad Station to serve passengers for the Wednesday evening rush.

The order to shut down Fairfield Cab was issued by the DOT after its cabs failed repeated inspections and two drivers were recently charged with crimes on the job -- one for sexually assaulting a female passenger and the other for buying alcohol for teenage passengers.

Ray Longo, owner of Yellow Cab of Bridgeport, confirmed Wednesday that he had the go-ahead from the state for the purchase.

"People are going to have cabs at the Fairfield station," Longo said, promising no interruption in service.

He said there will be six Yellow Cabs based at the downtown station and customers should experience a smooth transition.

"They should get better service," Longo said.

Cindy Placko, manager of the local Parking Authority, which holds the lease for the dispatch area/waiting room used by Fairfield Cab Co. in the rail station's eastbound terminal, said she had confirmed with the DOT that the sale to Yellow Cab was effective as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Longo said he wants to continue to use the station office for a satellite dispatch center and that he will work with the Parking Authority to resolve that issue. On Thursday, Placko said until the Parking Authority makes a decision on which cab company will staff the dispatch/waiting room, no one should be using the space. However, at midday Thursday, Yellow Cab personnel were using the office.

According to Assistant Town Attorney Eileen Kennelly, the lease for the space occupied by Fairfield Cab terminates if the cab company can no longer operate.

"Who we're going to have leasing that office is something else" now that Fairfield Cab is out of the picture, Placko said.

A decision on that issue will be made by Parking Authority, and Placko said Yellow Cab has been asked to make a presentation to the panel when it meets March 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Independence Hall.

"We met last week, but the board wanted to see if the sale went through" before taking any action, Placko said.

Jeff Serlin, the owner of Red Dot Taxi, which is locally owned, was at the Parking Authority meeting last week to express interest in taking over the service provided by Fairfield Cab. Red Dot, which also operates an airport shuttle from the Fairfield station, currently has four cabs at the downtown depot and Serlin is seeking permission from the state for additional taxi permits.

In the meantime, Placko said both Red Dot and Yellow Cab have been offered the opportunity to rent parkings spaces at the station for their taxis.

greilly@ctpost.com; 203-556-2771; twitter.com/GreillyPost