This Calgary Herald article by Tony Seskus deserves some kudos for taking the time to understand the transit planning problem, and educating readers about it. This, for example, is strikingly clear and accurate:
Peering at his map, [transit planning manager Neil] McKendrick finds transit routes that don't look like looped shoelaces. They look more like wobbly cursives penned with the wrong hand.
They are the result of circuitous streets and discontinuous roads in communities that often have limited or no connections to other communities. Some are the product of old neighbourhood planning where transit wasn't a focus. Others result from the city's topography.
The routes aren't just awkward. They often don't perform well on a costperpassenger basis because they don't serve enough people or aren't direct enough to attract riders. On that basis, it means the difference between the best-and worst-performing routes might be more than $6 per passenger in some cases.