The "carrier of last resort" image is enhanced -- if that's the right word -- by people who use GL in emergencies during peak travel times and without any advance planning. And then they have a poor or bad experience.The biggest problem intercity buses have is public perception, for better or for worse.
In the minds of many, still to this day, the bus is the lowest transport mode in the hierarchy of options - the option of last resort.
Like Amtrak, GL has tried to eliminate middle-management jobs and those were the people who would straighten things out when needed. It's hard to imagine now, but when we did that 1975 Oregon study we were dealing with GL's regional manager in Portland (I think he had Oregon, Washington and Idaho). Today were we to do that study the regional manager would be in Denver. When I last worked on relations with them in Denver (for RTD) their very good regional manager was engaged in setting up BOLT, so everything took longer while we were doing the Denver Union Station project -- he was up in the Pacific Northwest.
BTW, after retiring from GL, he was hired by CDOT to continue development of the state's Bustang system. Oregon, of course, set up a statewide network after the collapse of the Trailways system, but it doesn't have a statewide image. As Canadians recently have demonstrated, the negative bus image is the perfect excuse for doing nothing -- until a crisis level is reached.