The $12 in-state fare has been replaced with lower regular fares within Vermont - available only at the amtrak.com website. No longer will a special code be required.
This more user-friendly arrangement had been suggsted by VRAN for some time. Amtrak and the Vermont Agency of Transportation worked together on the change. This should encourage ridership, as people won't need to know about the special discount in order to get a competitive fare.
The cheap fare will be limited, so purchase as far in advance as possible is recommended. A three day advance purchase will be required. The fine print is available here.
As an example of the new fares (which be adjusted over time), travel between Brattleboro and Essex Junction or Montpelier will now cost as low as $18 while travel between Montpelier Junction and Essex Junction will be as low as $9.50 and between White River Junction and Brattleboro will be as low as $14.
Introduced some years back as a means of filling empty seats in Vermont (seats that will be filled down the line with people going to New York), the fare seemed to be successful in raising short-distance ridership. However it was troublesome, requiring a special code to obtain (which changed every year) and of course, you had to have knowledge that the discount even existed. Amtrak reservations agents tended not to know about the fare and when you called the 800 line, they had to get their supervisor or spend a long time looking it up -- an expense that was billed to the state of Vermont.
The following Amtrak improvements in Vermont are under discussion but take money and your political support.