The aim of this paper is twofold. First, to provide a statistical overview of the literature on public transit efficiency performance. Second, to statistically explain the variation in efficiency findings reported in the literature. To this end, first some key concepts of efficiency analysis will be introduced, while next the different frontier methodologies that are used in the literature will be discussed. The empirical part of this paper consists of a statistical summary of the literature as well as meta-regression analyses for different samples of the literature in order to identify key determinants of technical efficiency (TE) of public transit operators. For a broad sample of observations, we found significant and consistent effects of the type of database, region and output measurement method. For the sample of non-parametric studies we found that the type of frontier assumptions also have an impact on the efficiency ratio. Further results show that there is no statistical difference in TE ratio's between parametric and non-parametric studies. Finally, we found a positive univariate relationship between the number of inputs in the estimated specification and the efficiency ratio. © Springer 2005.