Rough ride: Fairfield Cab beset by car, driver woes
Updated 4:43 pm, Thursday, August 4, 2011
Hailing a ride from Fairfield Cab lately may involve a longer wait.
Earlier this year, a spot inspection of six Fairfield Cab vehicles by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles resulted in four being taken out of service. One cab -- a 2000 Chevy Lumina -- was removed from the road permanently because of its age.
Other Fairfield Cab vehicles that failed inspection were cited for violations that included unsafe tires, a cracked windshield, problems with headlights and back-up lights, a door that was "sticking," engine fluid leaking, and a cut in the side body of a vehicle.
When a cab is removed from the road for mechanical or certification issues, the owner is required to get the vehicle repaired and re-inspected by DMV before the cab can be returned to service.
Bertothy said that Fairfield Cab officials, based on his records, so far have repaired only one car and had it re-inspected. That vehicle did pass muster.
Another vehicle was supposed to have been repaired in April -- DMV received confirmation that repairs were planned -- but as of Aug. 2 the department had not received documentation regarding its repair. As a result, two vehicles that failed inspection, which potentially could hit the road again after repairs are certified, are still in limbo as far as state officials are concerned.
Fairfield Cab, based at the eastbound terminal of the Fairfield Railroad Station, at one time apparently had state certification for as many as eight cabs. That coincides with the number of parking spaces the company has. However, as of Aug. 2, according to Bertothy, only four of its vehicles have active registrations.
Compounding problems for the cab company are the recent arrests of four of its drivers. One driver was charged three weeks ago with sexual assault after a lengthy investigation allegedly determined he raped an 18-year-old female after she passed out in his cab. One week before that arrest, another cabbie was charged with buying liquor for under-age passengers at a Fairfield Beach liquor store. He was allegedly given $30 by a group of 15-year-olds for a $9 cab ride, according to police.
Both of those drivers, according to Bertothy, have since had their public service licenses disqualified.
On Tuesday, two Fairfield Cab drivers each were charged with third-degree assault and breach of peace for fighting with one another outside the taxi service's office at the rail depot, police said. Both men were injured seriously enough in the brawl that they had to be treated in area hospitals.
Attempts to reach Fairfield Cab owner Margaret Castellucci for comment were unsuccessful.