Here is my year 7 experience of 2012 (I know your DS is only 11 though).
DS went to our local school which is a two minute drive - three in traffic.
For high school we chose an all boys Catholic school that was just over a 45 min drive there and just over an hour on way home.
There were 4 boys from the local primary that went there, the other 3 boys were sports orientated (high school was well known for its sports programs) and DS couldn't kick a ball so DS didn't know these boys as they were in lower school groups and DS had nothing in common with the other boys.
We wanted the Catholic all boys ethos and they do academics well so really DS knew no one when he started.
The school didn't really turn out for DS (DS couldn't cope with the rough boys attitudes) so next year he is going to a local Anglican school.
However apart from issues with the boys from his primary school trying to make DS watch porn !!!!!! Yep teased him because DS didn't want to look at porn
The school quickly jumped on these boys and it was all sorted the bus trip was ok. As it turned out another boy from the Catholic primary in town was in all the same classes as DS so they struck up a friendship.
DS came to love catching the bus because they would all get together on their iPhones and play games against each other. Having a nerd of a dad helped and DS had a great internet/phone connection so he would host servers so he ended up being popular.
There were two regrets DS had leaving his old school, one was missing his teachers and the other missing his bus driver!!!
I got his bus driver a movie gift certificate on his last bus drive just as a thank you for looking after DS. Year 7 boys are made to sit at the front of the bus in the first term for supervision (though the porn issue was first time
High school (or changing school) is a big thing and the distances are draining, DS would often fall asleep in the morning and afternoon bus trips. One day the boys didn't wake him in the morning to see if he would wake. Lucky for DS the girl school catches the bus and a girl from his primary woke him up!
If I was you I would make your DS catch the bus from day two. The dynamics of the bus will be forming in those early days and your DS needs to be a part of it. I know it's hard, it was hard for me letting go of DS as DS has anxiety and depression so it was a big thing letting him go. I worked at his primary so it was harder for me letting go than for him experiencing the new 'normal'. I made DS catch the bus on day two and I'm so glad I did. Same thing will happen next year at his new school, DH will take DS to school on day one and he will catch the bus in the afternoon and then after that it will always be the bus.
The only thing you need to worry about is ,if it is anything like us, his bus in the morning is the only one to go to school so if you miss it you don't go to school or a parent is late for work. Only happened once because DS got off the bus to get a book from me (I was in the car behind the bus as I went home to get the book he didn't need for school but wanted to read on the bus), DS didn't tell the bus driver to wait or even ask him if he could just get the book. The bus driver drove off and due to living semi rural, and there are about 3 busses leaving town at once you can't actually overtake to get to the next bus stop. Lucky DH had the day off so he took DS to school that day.
Don't let a bus trip turn you off a school, it is really character building. I know I loved the freedom of bussing and training to school. I got to walk through the city to change and I felt so 'old'
although that was a lifetime ago and things have changed.