bus companies have the least control on the one thing their customers most rely on

Retail brands like McDonald's can attribute their success to several things, but product consistency is high on that list.

Whether you like a Big Mac or not, the company spends millions on processes, procedures, supply chains, preparation etc to ensure it looks and tastes the same whether you're in Manchester or Munich, Manilla or Miami.

They know they can back up the ad campaigns with product performance, and they are in complete control of the outcome.

Unfortunately for bus companies (and to a lesser extent their rail counterparts) the exact opposite is true. 

Due to many factors - bad weather, roadworks, accidents, congestion, local authorities not playing ball etc - reliability is the thing they have the least control over.

No matter how much they spend on great advertising, slick apps, and customer-friendly websites  - in the eyes of passengers their product success lives or dies by that one simple metric.

If they had control like McDonald's, people would come, and people would no doubt stay.