Artist Ebenezer Akakpo stands in the bus shelter he designed on Congress Street in Portland on June 17, 2021. Akakpo, who was born in Ghana, drew inspiration from the traditional Ghanaian symbols for hope and friendship. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A Congress Street bus stop has been named “America’s Best Bus Stop.”

A bus stop by South Portland’s Ebenezer Akakpo, a jewelry maker and industrial designer, was up against a Boston stop in the championship round.

The votes appeared to be in favor of the Boston bus stop, but Akakpo was named the winner after a number of votes were deemed invalid due to spam bots, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The competition aims to show that bus stops can be fun and creative waiting areas.

In 2020, Creative Portland (the city’s official arts agency), Greater Portland METRO (the local bus service) and the Greater Portland Council of Governments received a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The money was used to fund the Creative Bus Shelter Initiative, which hired local artists to “create public art on bus shelters, to spotlight public transit, and to evoke community joy.”

And one of the first artists in the program was Akakpo, who created his “Hope and Friendship” bus installment on Congress Street.

The bus stop features large steel pieces made from a repeating pattern that echoes its overall shape.

The designs by Akakpo, who was born in Ghana, are based on traditional Ghanaian adinkra symbols often printed on fabrics in that part of the world.

“The symbols can be identified, without words, by most Ghanians,” he told the Bangor Daily News in 2021.

Adinkra symbols show up in much of Akakpo’s work. One steel pattern on the bus shelter symbolizes hope while the pattern on the front and back stand for friendship.

Akakpo’s stop beat out bus stops in Baltimore; Norwalk, Connecticut; and Juneau, Alaska, and then finally Boston, with its cumulative vote total becoming the highest of any entry, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The Boston competitor was a bus stop located on Walnut Avenue along the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Columbus Avenue Busway. That stop features benches, shelters, sidewalks and a raised platform and runs in the center of the road to ensure passing cars slow down.