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Driving School VS Private Instructor: How Much Does It Cost To Get A Driving License in Singapore?

Private or school? Which is cheaper? Which is better?


Today, the usefulness of a driving license is more substantial than ever, even if you don’t have any intention to own a car. You can take advantage of car-sharing services to run errands for the day, make some extra income by driving for one of the private ride-hailing services, or if you’re lucky, or take advantage of your company’s fleet of vehicles when on official business.

Furthermore, as drivers can attest, learning to drive makes you more aware of the traffic regulations and the psychology of drivers, which makes you safer as a pedestrian or cyclist.

So, if you’re 18 and are medically fit to drive, here’s how much you will need to set aside to earn a driving license – both by enrolling in a driving school and as a private candidate.

Read Also: Guide To Car Sharing Options In Singapore: Blue SG, Tribecar, Car Club, SMOVE, WhizzCar, CarLite

List Of Driving Schools In Singapore

There are three driving schools in Singapore, which offer training for a range of licenses, including Class 3 and 3A (for manual and automatic transmission cars, respectively), motorcycles, lorries and buses.

Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC)
Address: 815 Bukit Batok West Avenue 5, Singapore 659085

ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC)
Address: 205 Ubi Ave 4 Singapore 408805

Singapore Safety Diving Centre (SSDC)
Address: 2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4 Singapore 757387

Location should be the biggest determinant for picking a school, since other factors such as opening hours, price and passing rates all differ just slightly between the schools.

Read Also: 5 Cheapest Cars In Singapore That You Can Buy In 2019

Your Roadmap For Getting A Driving License In Singapore

Here are the broad steps you need to go through to earn your driving license. Detailed breakdowns of what each of these steps entails and their associated costs are in subsequent sections.

Step 1: Enrolment

Step 2: Basic Theory Test and Final Theory Test

Step 3: Practical Driving Lessons

Step 4: Practical Driving Test

(Return to Step 3 if you did not pass Driving Test)

Step 1: Enrolment

If you choose to learn driving from a school, you’ll first need to pay to enroll, which allows you to book for theory and practical lessons, and gives you access to other resources. Enrolment is valid for a year, so you should ideally aim to complete all your lessons and earn your license by then to avoid paying additional fees. If you need more time, you can pay to extend.

  Enrolment Fee
(1 Year Validity)
Extension Fee
Bukit Batok Driving Centre
(BBDC)
$96.30 (6h 26m) + $3 (0h 12m) for online enrolment $8.13 (0h 33m) (1 month)
Singapore Safety Driving Centre
(SSDC)
$175.55 (11h 43m) * $58.85 (3h 56m) (6 months)
ComfortDeGro Driving Centre (CDC) $176.55 (11h 47m) * $64.20 (4h 17m) (6 months)

* Inclusive of e-Learning theory lessons.

Private instructors do charge an “enrolment fee” for taking you on as a student, which can range between $60 (4h 0m) to $80, (5h 20m) depending on instructor.

You will also need to pay for a mandatory eyesight test ($1.82 (0h 8m)) and Digital Photograph ($6.42 (0h 26m)) when enrolling.

Step 2: Basic Theory Test And Final Theory Test

Now that you’ve enrolled with a school or private instructor, you will first need to pass the Basic Theory Test (BTT) before you can be issued with a Provisional Driving License (PDL) and begin taking practical driving lessons. Each PDL is valid for two years and costs $25 (1h 41m).

You will also need to pass the Final Theory Test (FTT) before you can sit for the practical driving test. The FTT is valid for two years, and you will need to resit for the FTT again if you did not manage to pass your practical driving test within that period.

Test fees for taking either the BTT or FTT is $6.50 (0h 26m) per attempt. These fees are paid to the Traffic Police and are the same whether you are a driving school or private candidate.

Private candidates are not required to go for any lessons, though you may want to buy BTT and FTT guidebooks to self-study.

Schools would require you to go for an evaluation test before you can sign up for the actual theory tests. Private candidates can choose to take these practice tests as well. For BBDC, 4 home-based theory lessons are mandatory before taking the test.

School  Theory Lesson Practice Evaluation
BBDC 4 X $17.12 (1h 9m) $3.21 (0h 13m) $5.35 (0h 22m)
SSDC $5.35 (0h 22m) $5.35 (0h 22m)
CDC  

Included in enrolment fee. $6.42 (0h 26m)/$7.49 (0h 30m)

(Peak/Off-Peak)

 

Read Also: A Singaporean Shares With Us The Cost Of Owning A Car In London, And How It Compares To Singapore

Step 3: Practical Driving Lessons

Before you even get into a real car, driving schools require you to do at least 3 simulator lessons first. Students who are learning under a private driving instructor are also required to do this step. CDC also requires students to undergo a mandatory Induction programme (50min) via Zoom. BBDC allows students to book the driving simulator for more practice at $13.91 (0h 56m) for a 50min session.

Simulator Lesson Driving Simulator
SSDC $23.94 (1h 36m) (20 min)
CDC $26.54 (1h 47m) (20 min) + $17.12 (1h 9m)/$21.40 (1h 26m) (peak/off-peak)
BBDC $23.06 (1h 33m) (20 min) $13.91 (0h 56m) (50 min/session)

 

The bulk of the cost of learning driving comes from the practical driving lessons, and this cost can vary significantly depending on whether you book peak or off-peak lessons. Each lesson at BBDC and CDC is 100 minutes, while SSDC’s lessons are 120 minutes.

Practical Driving Lesson Fees (Off-Peak) Practical Driving Lesson Fees (Peak)
SSDC $77.04 (5h 9m) $85.60 (5h 43m)
CDC $68.48 (4h 34m) $77.04 (5h 9m)
BBDC $68.48 (4h 34m) $77.04 (5h 9m)

 

As you can see, you can save a lot by going for non-peak hour classes – almost $10 (0h 40m) per lesson. However, if you’re a working adult with a fixed work schedule, you may not have a choice. For those who have some flexibility with their Work-From-Home schedule, now may be a good time to try and clear some driving lessons using off-peak timings.

Driving schools have a systematic syllabus they follow, so no matter how fast you learn or master the skills, there is a minimum number of lessons you must take before being to book your driving test. For CDC, the baseline number of sessions is 27 (inclusive of 2 automatic transmission vehicle lessons).

Private driving instructors are known to charge between $30 (2h 0m) to $40 (2h 40m) per hour. The number of lessons you need can vary widely between 20-30 1-hour lessons. This depends on how quickly you learn, as well as how well your instructor trains you in the various skills. Note that you will be required to book the circuit for practice in a driving school, and this will cost $58 (3h 52m) on top of your normal lesson.

Step 4: Practical Driving Test

After completing your driving lessons, you can finally move on to the (daunting) practical driving test. The Traffic Police charges $33 (2h 13m) for each test, and this fee is the same for all candidates.

In addition to the test fee, schools charge you for the rental of a test vehicle and a warm-up session. Here are the costs.

School Cost of Car Rental And Warm-Up Session For Practical Driving Test
Bukit Batok Driving Centre
(BBDC)
$214 (14h 17m) + $38.52 (2h 35m) = $252.52 (16h 51m)
Singapore Safety Driving Centre
(SSDC)
$192.60 (12h 51m) + $38.52 (2h 35m) = $231.12 (15h 25m)
ComfortDeGro Driving Centre (CDC) $289.97 (19h 20m)

 

Read Also: Authorised VS Independent Car Workshops: What You Need To Know When Servicing Your Car

Summary of Total Cost

As mentioned in the preceding sections, the actual cost you would incur is largely dependent on how many practical driving lessons you require and whether you take the bulk of your lessons during peak or off-peak periods. It would also depend on how many attempts you take for the practical test.

But here is a ballpark estimate of how much you can expect to spend on average in total to earn your license.

Item School (Average) Private (Average)
Enrolment Fee $150 (10h 0m) $70 (4h 41m)
Eyesight Test $1.82 (0h 8m) $1.82 (0h 8m)
Digital Photograph $6.42 (0h 26m) $6.42 (0h 26m)
Theory Lessons $4 (0h 16m) X 17.12 $7 (0h 28m) for books
Theory Evaluation $5.73 (0h 23m)
Theory Tests (BTT and FTT) $13 (0h 52m) $13 (0h 52m)
Simulator Lessons 3 X $24 (1h 37m)
Provisional Driving License $25 (1h 41m) $25 (1h 41m)
Practical Lessons 25 x $71.33 (4h 46m) 25 x $55 (3h 40m)
Circuit Lessons Included 3 x $58 (3h 52m)
Car Rental And Practical Test Fee $257.87 (17h 12m) $250 (16h 41m)
License Fee $50 (3h 21m) $50 (3h 21m)
TOTAL $2,433.57 (162h 15m) $1,972.24 (131h 29m)


Read Also: Which Is Cheaper, Owning A Car Or Taking Uber Everyday?

Congratulations, You Passed!

If you passed your practical driving test, congratulations! The final fee you need to pay is $50 (3h 21m) for your driving license, which is valid for life. If you intend to drive within your first year of passing, you are also required to display the orange-yellow “P Plate”, which you can buy or ask around for.

Drive safe, and enjoy your newfound freedom!

Read Also: Cost Of Owning A Car In Singapore Over 10 Years

This article was first published on 7 March 2017 and updated with the latest fees. Additional reporting by Clement Low. 

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