Gosh, poor you, it sounds like a really tricky journey
I know my son was shattered when he started in year 7 and he only had a 25 minute bus journey which was only one bus so i can imagine a 80 minute trek would take it out of your son so you are right to explore all the options.
The freedom pass is definitely worth going for even though its going up in price as they can use it on all buses in the holidays and weekends. however, this isnt valid on trains so this may be worth thinking about.
it may be worth contacting the school. They may give you information about other boys in your area. Would it be an option to car share if this was the case, even for the first year til DS finds his feet!
Good luck, let us know how you get on!