I have always hated taking the bus. When I was younger, it was mainly due to the car sickness that I almost always experienced when taking the bus. I was forced into making it a habit when I went to college, though, as we didn't have a car back then, and most of the time, the bus was the only way to go to school (and back home on weekends). I still hated it with a passion, though.
Today, I carry over remnants of those negative emotions when it comes to bus rides, but recent trips from the city to my parents' house have been almost pleasant. Buses have improved, finally. They don't stink anymore. Some even have a receipt printer, which people from progressive countries may not find remarkable, but over here, we're used to the conductor punching holes in the tickets to mark the cost. Good luck to you if you can't figure out your fare! (Not to mention the unwanted confetti falling all over you from the holes.)
Seriously, though, I have found ways to make bus rides enjoyable for myself. Whether I am going to visit family (that's anywhere from 2 to 3 hours) or I am on a trip discovering a new place, I have had some interesting bus rides.
One thing that has made it almost pleasant is my ever present companion on trips: the iPod nano and awesome earphones. Now I know that audiophiles might not look highly on my set, but they do block outside noise very effectively. As a result, when I do not want to be bothered by crying babies or yapping biddies, I feel more comfortable with the likes of U2, Disturbed, Pink, or whatever I feel like listening to at the moment.
On trips in the province, I usually decide to ditch the earphones simply because I am not sure where I am going. What I do then is actually try to talk to the person beside me, or if that fails (as was the case during my most recent trip), I talk to the driver and/or the conductor. You'd be surprised at how easy and fun that could be!
So yeah, instead of paying thousands and thousands for a car rental, I am trying out buses more. They aren't that bad.