Much of transit's complexity arises from the difficulty of saying and remembering when it runs. Route maps can be made pretty simple, but most urban North Americans (and Australians) have been taught that schedules are intrinsically complicated. You either bypass them using trip planners or realtime information, or learn to enjoy wading through vast tables of times glittering with footnotes ("deviates via Hilltop Community Center on Thursdays").
Schedules are intrinsically complicated if running times change throughout the day, as is the case in many transit services that are stuck in mixed traffic. But when you have an exclusive right of way, like a busway or separated train track, and you want the network to be simple, you can achieve beautiful repeating patterns like, well, this … (click to sharpen)
It's a slice of this new diagram of the entire Swiss railway network, showing the repeating hourly patterns on which the entire network runs. [Download PDF] The notation takes a while to figure out, but there's a legend in English, French, and German that will talk you through it with typical Swiss clarity. But for example, suppose you're at Grenchen Süd on the left side of the image, and you take an eastbound local train (the black line that runs across the middle of the image). It arrives Grenchen Sud at :30 after every hour departs a minute later. You'll then stop at Solothurn West at :42 after the hour and arrive Solothurn at :44. Stay on the train and you'll get to Niederbipp, but if you want to go to Wiedlisbach, on the local line north out of Solothurn, you'll have a nice connection. That train leaves at :48, only four minutes after you arrive.
This regular pattern happens every hour, all day, every day, and similar patterns cover the entire country. The whole rail network is an interconnected structure of times, not just lines, with schedules built around each other to optimize connections as much as possible. The core enabling idea is the regular hourly pattern of almost everything. That's what assures that (a) you can remember the schedule and use it regardless of when you decide to travel and (b) the connection timing is the same regardless of which trip you're on.
Download the full map if you dare. The legend itself is a work of art. I stared at it happily for half an hour, but I'm a fallen geek. A true geek could kill an afternoon.
And of course, the Swiss do the same thing at the urban transit scale. Here you can download a similar map for the Zurich S-Bahn. (Legend only in German, but it's similar to the main map, which has English.)
No, I'm not saying that all public information should look like this, only that regular patterns in a timetable are a radical act of simplification, one that suddenly makes the whole day's service graspable in a couple of numbers. Where these regular patterns are possible, they're worth fighting for.