A reliable, 'affordable' and efficient bus service is simply incompatible with them being run by private public listed companies.
Busses are run on routes at the maximum price the operator can charge without losing custom, and are there to service the needs of people who literally have no choice or viable alternative to using the bus (or else are retired and getting to use them for free - though that of course eats into the operators profits, and therefore creates the insanity which privatisation purported to avoid; that of a busy service which is loss making!!!)
How can buses be about convenient, reliable public transport when its still hit and miss whether one will turn up, when routes and times are frequently confusing or infrequent or that require the customer to have exactly the right change with them to buy a ticket.
Bus services in Swindon are there purely to milk the proles; people who can't drive for what ever the reason (and a tiny minority who actively chose not to - though their custom is so tiny as to be virtually immaterial.
Compare the bus service in the UK to any in Europe - or much of the rest of the world for that matter, and you can see that transport policy in this country is being operated by people with their heads so far up their own backsides that they can see their next sandwich.
Watch, learn and remember; any census or policy 'change' regarding public transport in the UK (and Swindon especially) is NOT based about making public transport 'better' by making it cheaper, more reliable, frequent or convenient.
It is ALWAYS about making private road traffic more expensive, more inconvenient and less reliable.
To whit, we have bus lanes, speed restrictions, lack of car parking, increased pricing for whatever car parking remains and a mania for building housing on land for huge profit, whilst failing to provide even a shadow of equivalent increases in spending upon the roads (which could easily be made a condition of 106 money from speculators and developers).
Until the government chooses to SPEND money of public transport, the picture is only going to get worse - both for the people who use it, and the rest who decide to continue to use their cars.
Its the usual bullshit which occurs when ideology clashes with market ecenomics: private companies exist to make PROFIT. Thats all.