The MTA announced Tuesday that subway ridership has passed the billion mark in 2022, the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lucky one billionth rider was 18-year-old Sasha Salazar, a Bronx resident studying nursing at Lehman College. Salazar swiped her MetroCard at the 161st Street-Yankee Stadium station Tuesday, intent on riding the 4 train into Manhattan to catch a matinee screening of Avatar: The Way of Water, but quickly learned of the significance of the morning’s turnstile crossing.
“I just thought it was gonna be a normal day in the city, and then boop. So I’m just really happy and excited,” Salazar told reporters following a press conference with MTA honchos at the station, before heading to see the James Cameron flick. “I just had my MetroCard, I swiped it, and then I saw two men…and they were, like, so happy, and I was like oh, ok. And then they were like, ‘congratulations, you’re the one billionth customer on the MTA.’ And I was like, is this real?”