Ferry Building flap sign celebrates 10 years of helping travelers navigate the Bay Area

Flap Sign
The flap sign ready for installation 10 years ago.
Noah Berger

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Ferry Building flap sign, which has helped assist thousands of commuters, travelers, and tourists in navigating the Bay Area.

A part of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Hub Signage Program, the distinctive flap sign hearkens back to the glory days of travel. Located in the Great Nave of the Ferry Building, the flap sign offers daily ferry passengers departure times for routes to Vallejo, Alameda, Oakland, Larkspur, Sausalito, Tiburon and Angel Island.

"We are proud of the role our stylish flap sign has played in the last decade," said Jay Stagi, senior transportation planner and project manager for MTC’s Hub Signage Program, who oversaw the installation in 2013. "It has helped thousands upon thousands of ferry riders reach their destinations across all points of the Bay Area."

Also known as split-flap displays, flap signs were once common in major railway stations and airports throughout the world. Although historically styled, the Ferry Building flap sign is embedded with a high-tech processor that displays ferry departure times for the Golden Gate Ferry and San Francisco Bay Ferry services. The flap sign is part of MTC's 511 real-time Traveler Information Program. 

The computer that controls the sign also allows for various messages to be displayed, including a recent wedding proposal. The sign was manufactured by Solari in Italy, which recently sent a representative who made repairs, cleaned and fully serviced the flap sign.

"The flap sign is now ready to roll for the next 10 years!" Stagi said.

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