NEW YORK (PIX11) – The New York City subway surpassed one billion riders in 2022 for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The billionth rider was identified as Bronx resident Sasha Salazar, who used the 161st Street-Yankee Stadium station Tuesday morning, according to the MTA. 

Subway ridership increased by 240 million in 2022 from the previous year, officials said. Subway ridership was just 760 million in 2021 and 640 million in 2020.

“We have been working hard to bring customers back by providing safer, cleaner, and faster service, and hitting one billion riders in 2022 is evidence that our work is paying off,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

The last time the New York City subway surpassed one billion riders was in 2019. However, average daily ridership in 2022 still lagged at nearly 60% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019, officials said. The subway carried nearly 1.7 billion riders in 2019.

Still, MTA officials are optimistic about the growth in ridership this year. All MTA agencies saw significant ridership growth in 2022, officials said. New York City buses are up 13.4%, Metro-North Railroad is up 65%, the Long Island Rail Road is up 56%, and the Staten Island Railway is up 47%, according to MTA data through Oct. 31.