Kowloon Motor Bus Co has raised interim dividend by 9 per cent after boosting attributable profit from $218 million to $241.5 million in the six months to June. The profit included a notional transfer of $2 million left in the Development Fund because profits from franchised bus operations fell short of the permitted return by $9.5 million. Ridership during the period rose to 506.7 million passenger trips, or a daily average of 2.78 million, up 1.8 per cent from a year earlier. Helped by the higher ridership and average fare increases of 10 per cent for cross-harbour routes from March 3 this year and 2.7 per cent for other routes from April 4, revenue jumped 11.2 per cent to $2.14 billion. Operating costs slightly outstripped that rise, climbing 11.5 per cent due to wage rises and other costs. The company's existing franchise expires at the end of August next year and talks on an extension are still in progress. Dividend is 24 cents, up from 22 cents, while earnings per share rose from 54 cents to 59.8 cents.