Honestly, it's not really about the price. The problem is mainly one of schedule. Where I used to live, it was actually pretty decent. My wife took the bus regularly, and I was within walking distance to work (or driving when the weather sucked). Unfortunately we were also in a Strata with ever-increasing rules, fees, and a number of council members suffering from cranial-rectal inversion (I was on the council, and some members were often just plain hostile).
So I moved to a house. It's bigger, the neighbourhood is peaceful with less crime, and it's still not that far from downtown/work. It is up a hill that makes biking a lesser alternative to driving though. The bus service, however, is shyte. Once hourly, plus transfers to get uptown where the shopping is, and it ends at hours that aren't particularly helpful for anyone who doesn't work regular hours between 8am and 7pm.
Additionally for myself, I have on-call after-hours shifts where I need to be able to get to the office if there's an emergency, be it 3pm or 3am. Waiting on the hourly bus (plus transfer) isn't so helpful, and there's no late service.
It doesn't really matter how much the bus costs, if it doesn't work on the hours I do, it's not useful. Many people I know *would* prefer the bus over the costs of the car they can barely afford (the one that needs regular repairs, leaks oil, and isn't all that reliable in itself), but when they're working split/random shifts, need to pick up the kids within 15 minutes of finishing work, need to get bags full of groceries home, etc... well that doesn't work so well either.
Now, if we move on from busses and talk about (reliable) high-speed transport like LRT or subways, I'm game. When I lived in a bigger city, I *loved* the LRT. Even if it took me a bit longer to get to work, I could usually get on a bit earlier and rest/nap while enroute. I did still have a car for my forays out-of-city or for when I was picking up a trunkload of groceries/building-materials, but I didn't tend to drive it overly regularly (so still paying for insurance, but the lesser "not for work" amount as well as reduced emissions etc). I often wonder what the pay-off might be for a simple system in the smaller cities: something that runs straight from one end of town to another, and - even if it doesn't replace cars - at least swaps part of the drive for a group-parking lot and a quick rail trip.
Even better, here (Canada) they have often discussed - and dismissed - something like a high-speed-rail route between major western cities. Something like a bullet train from Calgary to Vancouver (10h by car). Yes, it would be expensive, and the usual objection are the amount of work, time and cost involved. Yes, they would have to burrow through or around mountains.
However, I was in Korea and Japan and the rail system was great (better in Korea). The trip is quick, fairly comfortable, as well as affordable and convenient. Again, I do recognise that the populations in Korea or Japan squeeze a lot more into a small area, but consider this: one of the bigger programs in Canada (and I believe N America in general) is that there's a lot of "space" but not so many people in the less-urban areas. Domestic populations are dropping, and immigration is basically keeping things afloat, but immigrants don't generally *WANT* to live in the smaller cities. Also, many professionals (doctors, lawyers, and yes even politicians) prefer the larger centres.
But what if all those people could get to the "big city" in 25% or less of the time it takes by car. What if it took about the same time to travel there that it currently does to do a grocery run? Suddenly, you can live in the smaller city in a decent-sized house/yard, with less smog, less crowding, and a nice view. You've got a 2000sqft house instead of a 500sqft shoebox to live in. If you want to go shopping, you can hit some of the local shops for your basic stuff, or take a train-trip and grab those electronics/clothes/food that aren't even available in your hometown, and still be back by bedtime. The end-result, all those little in-between places would experience growth. The big cities would be less over-stressed. It would easier to find a doctor or a specialist in your hometown (or, if not, at least one would be a fairly short train trip away). Strain on highways goes down, decreased traffic, less need for big bridges, etc etc. On the flip side, if the "big city" family wants to go out camping or take a trip to the lake, white-water rafting etc, that's all available too.
The problem with that is: politicians have 4-year terms, and a project like that takes a *lot* more than four years, and likely involves multiple levels of politicians (provincial, federal, even municipal). So nobody is likely going to touch a big-budget item that they can't show completion on in their term, even though the overall benefit to society might be quite large.