or that living in what counts as a major city it is unrealistic to expect half way decent transport links into the central hub.
Yes and no. I can see your point (and it's been made by a couple of people on this thread) about *direct* links but that is unrealistic for everyone. The bus routes are being revised because, in the centre of town, there are simply too many buses, they get in each others way, cause congestion etc so makes sense to take some of them out of the centre of town and force people to change. The Hopper fare should mean that it actually doesn't cost any more for most people most of the time.
In terms of *indirect* links into the centre of town though, London is incredibly well served. You can get pretty much anywhere using phased transport (ie bus then tube or bus with a change) and it'll always be capped at £7
per day. I pay more than that for a return train ticket where live now. Coming back to Dulwich is a welcome treat for how good public transport is!