All aboard Bill and Ellie's buses: Metlink announces winners for 'Design a Bus' contest

Customers & Communities
Bill's bus Ellie's bus

Bill, 8, from Wellington and Ellie, 11, from Kāpiti were today announced as the winners of Metlink’s ‘Design a bus’ colouring contest, meaning their designs will be turned into two Metlink buses hitting Wellington’s streets next month.

These talented tamariki were chosen out of 15 finalists and hundreds of entries for the popular contest which Metlink ran last month as part of the Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays activities.

Bill is especially excited to board his bus to the beach. He says, “I love swimming in the sea and often go to Island Bay with my friends, so it would be fun to get on my bus to go swimming. But what I am most looking forward to little children being able to go on my bus and choose where they sit by pointing at the different fish.”

Bill’s love of the sea inspired his fantastical underwater design. After attending Family Snorkel Day at Taputeranga Marine Reserve, a Greater Wellington summer event co-run with Mountains to Sea Wellington, Bill wanted to share life under the sea with everyone.

“We saw lots of seaweed, a crayfish, crabs, and millions of fish, someone in our group also saw an octopus. For my design I wanted to show other people in Wellington what it was like under the sea and how many creatures live in the Marine Reserve.”

Ellie took her inspiration from the many wonderful things that a visit to our capital city offers. From the Nga Kina waterfront sculptures, to our iconic beehive Parliament building, the famous windy ‘Wellington’ sign, and even a glimpse of ‘Matariki’ whale who visited Wellington’s harbour, it’s all there on display amongst a spectacular backdrop of reds, pinks and purples.

“My design has a sunset in the background to make it look a brighter and more colourful. I think the best part of seeing my bus in real-life will be seeing my own colourful sunset driving around.”

Ellie particularly enjoyed taking part in the competition because it was a fun and safe thing to do during COVID. She says, “Quite a few events that I was going to were cancelled, so this was this was a really nice and positive thing for me.”

Greater Wellington councillor and Transport Committee chair Roger Blakeley reflects on his time as part of the ‘Design a Metlink bus’ judging panel.  

“I’ll admit it wasn’t easy. All 15 finalists were brilliant, and everyone on the panel had strong favourites. But what really stood out about Bill and Ellie’s designs for all of us was the feeling of aroha for our region.

“Our congratulations to Ellie and Bill, as well as to our finalists. We also want to thank all the hundreds of tamariki who played along. We loved seeing the amazing artistic talent across Greater Wellington – and it’s certainly encouraging to know that the future of bus design is in safe hands.

“I personally can’t wait to board these special buses, and I think they’ll just lift peoples’ moods as they drive around the region,” adds Cr Blakeley.  

All 15 finalists will be turned into posters that will brighten up bus shelters across Wellington region starting 12 April. In the meantime, people can peruse all the shortlisted designs on Metlink’s website.

Bill and Ellie’s designs will wrap two EV double decker buses that will drive the number 1 route from Johnsonville to Island Bay. These buses will hit Wellington’s streets in late-April.