Bill and Ellie's brilliant buses brighten Wellington's streets

Customers & Communities

Cr Daran Ponter with Bill, Ellie, and their familiesWellingtonians can now hop aboard two very special Metlink buses designed by Bill, 8, from Wellington city and Ellie, 11, from Kāpiti, who won Metlink’s popular ‘Design a bus’ competition.

Bill and Ellie were celebrated at a community event to unveil the two buses. The tamariki were among the very first to see the freshly wrapped EV double decker buses as they drove off the lot. Ellie, Bill and their proud whānau then took the buses on their maiden voyages to Island Bay where community members, Greater Wellington councillors, Paul Eagle MP and Deputy Mayor Sarah Free gathered to celebrate the kids’ achievements.

The striking buses are a result of the kids’ imaginations and their hard mahi putting colouring pencils to paper. Describing the inspiration behind his fantastical underwater design, Bill said he wanted to share his love of the sea and all the incredible creatures that live in it. Bill can’t wait to board his bus to go swimming with his friends, but says that he’s most excited about “little children being able to go on my bus and choose where they sit by pointing at the different fish.”

Ellie took her inspiration from the many wonderful things that a visit to our capital city offers, from the Beehive to whales in Wellington harbour. She said, “I really hope that when people see my bus driving around Wellington it will make them happy, especially the passengers.” Ellie added that seeing her design on a “real, huge bus” is something she’ll remember for her whole life.

Cr Roger Blakeley, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee, was delighted to see the designs come to life.

“It’s been my absolute pleasure to have been involved in this process from start to finish, and I’m chuffed with the outcome. We started out by wading through literally hundreds of incredible entries, to shortlisting 15 brilliant finalists, and finally choosing Bill and Ellie as our winners.

“Today, we get to see the kids’ creativity come alive, and I’m once again reminded of why we chose these two special designs. In both artworks, the kids’ love for our region really shines through, and we hope the buses will spread this aroha everywhere they go,” says Cr Blakeley.

Metlink General Manager Scott Gallacher thanked Bill and Ellie for helping Wellingtonians feel proud of their transport network.

“At the end of the day, what we do is connect communities. By designing such beautiful buses that people will feel excited to board, Bill and Ellie are helping us do that important job, so thank you to Ellie and Bill.”

Cr Blakeley says that this fun kids’ challenge was driven by an urgent need to promote sustainable transport.

“To address the climate crisis that we find ourselves in, we need more people using public transport and other sustainable ways of getting around. We put on this competition to get our young people thinking about public transport in a positive way – and of course the end result are brilliant buses that people will love to board, so it’s a double win,” says Cr Blakeley.

Wellingtonians who spot these special buses can support the talented tamariki by posting a photo with the hashtags #BillsBus and #ElliesBus.