What’s the easiest way to get from Point A to Point B? Grab, public transport, walking?
How does driving sound?
Taking a cab, asking for lifts, dependable public transport and the high cost of cars are some of the factors that contribute to some Singaporeans having a lukewarm response to driving.
However, driving is an essential skill that you should have. While you may not own a vehicle, possessing a driving license can be useful when the time calls for it. For instance when you travel abroad; someone needs assistance with moving their car or during a road trip.
If you wish to learn how to drive, you’re in luck! This all in one guide will provide you with a list of things to take into consideration, along with the comparison between the costs of various driving schools within Singapore.
Singapore Driving Centres: Fees
There are three driving centres in Singapore: Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) in Bukit Batok, ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC) in Ubi and the Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC).
It would be a good idea to choose a convenient school in regards to distance and accessibility, but factors such as the passing rate and costs may also influence your final decision.
All three schools usually have specific standard fees. Anything that is mandated or conducted by Traffic Police such as the eyesight test, practical test and photo taking is standardised. These aspects are only different in terms of theoretical and practical lessons.
Generally, BBDC appears to be the most affordable option for enrolment, taking the required lessons as well as the trail tests before the initial Basic Theory Test that will cost slightly upwards of $173. The most costly option is Singapore Safety Driving Center, with a difference of approximately $7.
SSDC charges more for practical lessons. This payment constitutes the majority of the cost because you require over 20 driving lessons to become competent.
Below is a comparison table for easy reference:
|Procedures||BBDC (Woodlands)||SSDC (Bukit Batok)||CDC (Ubi)|
|Enrolment and 4 theory lessons (1 year validity)||$164.78||$164.78||$171.20|
|Theory practice session||$3.21||-||-|
|Theory evaluation||$5.35||-||$6.42 to $7.49|
|Basic Theory Test (BTT)||$6.50||$6.50||$6.50|
|Final Theory Test (FTT)||$6.50||$6.50||$6.50|
|Practical Test (TP)||$33||$33||$33|
|Induction programme||-||-||$34.24 to $38.52|
|Vehicle rental for practical test||$171.20||$171.20||$273.92 per test|
|Warm up session (Mon - Sat)||$38.52||$35.31||$273.92 per test|
|Designate specific instructor||-||$8.56||-|
|Practical lesson (Off-peak hours)||$68.48|
(100 mins, off peak)
(120mins, off peak)
(100 mins, off peak)
|Practical lesson (Peak hours)||$77.04|
(100 mins, peak)
(120 mins, peak)
(100 mins, peak)
|Learner Driver Competency Screening||-||-||$55.64 to $59.92|
|Vehicular pre-operative check||-||-||$23.52 to $27.82|
|Risk forecast training lesson||$22.47||-||-|
|Course extension / Membership renewal||$8.03 (1 month)||$48.15 (6 mths)||$64.20 (6 mths)|
|Training vehicle conversion fee||-||$42.80||-|
1. Enrolment Fees
The enrolment fee charged as a driving school course is approximately $96.30. This fee is valid for one year regardless of the school that provides training.
The cost at CDC covers four theoretical lessons. You will pay more if you are not able to go through all the lessons quickly within a year. The following are the typical rates that you can expect:
|Driving School||Course Extension Charges|
|SSDC (6 months)||$48.15|
|CDC (6 months)||$64.20|
|BBDC (1 month)||$8.03|
You can consider picking BBDC as your preferred driving centre if you are unsure about passing the driving test after one year of lessons lapses. It may cost less to go to Bukit Batok each month in comparison to the rest of the schools when you do not require an additional six months to pass the test.
Enrolment fees when dealing with a private driving instructor cost between $50 and $60. This difference in fee attributed to the overheads that a driving school passes to you as a customer.
You are still required to open an account with the driving school regardless of whether you opt to learn through a private instructor or a driving school.
2. Theory Driving Lessons
What’s next after enrolling with a driving school?
The next step is to pay for lessons along with the enrolment fee before applying for the Basic and Final Theory Tests. The amount that you pay will depend on you take and pass the tests.
The following fees apply to people who are learning to drive for the first time:
|School||Cost Of Theory Driving Lessons|
|SSDC (4 classes)||$69.55|
|CDC (4 classes)||$69.55|
|BBDC (4 classes)||$68.48|
3. Basic & Final Theory Tests (BTT & FTT)
Once you go through the lessons that you can also do online, you can proceed to apply for a Basic Theory Test.
The fee for this test is currently $6.50. After passing the test, you qualify to apply for a Provisional Driving License (PDL) that costs $25 and is valid for two years. With a PDL, you can then begin driving.
You can also choose to apply for a Final Theory Test (FTT) during this time. The test costs $6.50, and you are required to pass it before booking a date for the Practical Driving Test.
Pro tip: It is always advisable to start a few practical lessons first before applying for your FTT. This is so that you will have a better understanding of how the vehicle works.
When you have a private instructor, theory lessons are not mandatory, and you can go directly to the theory tests.
It is advisable, however, to go for a couple of trials before getting an official date for the test. Trials are useful for helping you become familiar with the testing system, and you will probably notice that some of the questions will get asked in the official test. You can easily access these trial tests online.
4. Practical Lessons
The crux of the whole learning to drive procedure, practical lessons are where you start honing your driving skills.
A fixed syllabus is used by driving schools and constitutes a specified number of lessons that students are required to take before being allowed to book a driving test.
The classifications for fees are off-peak and peak.
|SSDC (120 minutes)||$77.04 to $85.60|
|CDC (100 minutes)||$68.48 to $77.04|
|BBDC ((100 minutes)||$68.48 to $77.04|
Although SSDC initially appears to be more costly, it makes more economic sense when you are considering how much you will pay per minute. Depending on the instructor you are dealing with, the additional 20 minutes for each lesson at SSDC gets you more time for practice.
Generally, you will require approximately between 20 and 25 lessons to complete the entire syllabus. The speed at which you learn depends on you and the instructor. You might not have only one instructor at a driving school. However, SSDC charges an additional $8.56 for each session when you want to be taught by a particular instructor.
5. Private Instructor
Several private driving instructors are available, which means that you have many options to choose from around the island. There is an online private driving instructors review site which can help you decide on an instructor. There are competent driving instructors who have trained numerous students.
Generally, a private instructor charges between $25 and $35 on an hourly basis. You can learn at a pace that is suitable for you, but most people require between 20 and 30 lessons to prepare for the test.
Booking several warm-up sessions with the test circuit in a driving centre is also a worthwhile consideration. It gives you the chance to get familiar with the circuit before the practical test.
6. Practical Driving Test
After passing your Final Theory Test and completing the required lessons, you can go ahead and book a practical driving test. This test costs $33 and has a payment for the vehicle rental that will get used during the test and the warm-up session before the actual test. The following are the fees that you can expect to pay:
|SSDC||$206.51 (including warm-up fee)|
|CDC||$273.92 (including warm-up fee)|
|BBDC||$209.72 (including warm-up fee)|
SSDC charges lower fees for a driving test. However, it is important to note that you pay more for theoretical and practical lessons when compared to the other driving centres.
BBDC charges more than SSDC with a difference of approximately $3.20. However, you may be able to save more on the lessons.
7. Driver’s License Fee
Once you’ve passes your test, you’ll need to pay $50 to apply for a driving license.
8. Cost Of Driving Schools vs Private Instructors
There’s always the question: take lessons from a driving school, or just get a private instructor? Ultimately, it depends on your finances, and which is suited best for you.
Here’s a comparison between them:
|Procedures||Driving School (Cost)||Private Instructor (Cost)|
|Enrolment||$96.30||$50 - 60|
|Theory Lessons (4 classes)||$69.55||Optional|
|Basic Theory Test||$6.50||$6.50|
|Final Theory Test||$6.50||$6.50|
|Practical Lessons at Centre (20 to 25 classes)||$1,400 - $1,900||$1,000 - $1,400 (about 40 hours of instruction)|
|Practical Driving Test||$33||$33|
|Vehicle Rental for Practical Test||$195.81 - $231.12||$195.81 - $231.12|
|Driving License Fee||$50||$50|
|Total||$1860 - $2400||$1340 - $1790|
9. A Comparison Between Driving Centres & Private Driving Instructors
A private driving instructor does not get restricted to following the syllabus. This means that you can learn at a pace that is suitable for you, suited to how fast you pick up the required skills.
It may be a better idea to sign up for a private instructor if you are highly confident about your ability to drive. You can save as much as $700 when you opt for a private driving instructor rather than a driving school.
Private driving instructors and driving centres both have advantages and disadvantages.
A driving school provides all the facilities required within the centre. If you need extra time to practice on the test circuit, you will not get subjected to additional fees.
Alternatively, a private driving instructor can be flexible enough to plan for lessons based on your schedule, while a driving school usually sets specific times for lessons.
A driving instructor offers the advantage of meeting you at a convenient location.
Many Singaporeans find it challenging to access driving schools. Unless you reside in the far North or West, near SSDC and BBDC, it can be a very long commute.
Thus, if you have a hectic schedule or you are confident about your learning speed and driving skills, you will save more when you opt for a private driving instructor.
On the other hand, a driving school might cost more, but it may also be a suitable option as it might increase your chances of passing the driving test. Rushing through the lessons and test is pointless when you fail and end up spending more money to get a driving license.
Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC)
This centre is well known for its personable and pleasant driving teachers. With more than 30 visits to the school during your learning sessions, you can enjoy the benefit of being able to sample some tasty snacks and meals at the food court.
The centre is also famous for its affordable theory and practical lessons as well the innovative approach towards driving simulation that prepares students for their final practical test.
Address: 815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5, Singapore 659085.
ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC)
The centre is the most centrally located among the three options of driving schools if you reside in the East.
There are mixed reviews with some saying that the instructors are always eager to help and others reporting that the instructors lack patience.
CDC has a conservative course structure in regards to including an induction programme as well as internal evaluation to make sure that you have some level of knowledge before moving on to the tests.
Address: 205 Ubi Ave 4, Singapore 408805.
Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC)
Located in Woodlands, SSDC is known for its sheltered areas that are ideal for motorcycle lessons. It has also received positive reviews for its seamless booking system.
Address: 2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4, Singapore 757387.
10. Replacing a Driving License
After all that blood, sweat, tears and money put into getting your driver’s license, the last thing you want to do is lose it.
Fortunately, replacing it is relatively easy because you can apply for a replacement online via the e-service that is facilitated by Traffic Police.
You require your Singpass for an online application. The process costs $25, which can get paid by using a credit card or ibanking.
The photograph that exists within the system is used. This way, you wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of taking a new photo. You also have the option of going to the headquarters of Traffic Police to apply for a replacement.
11. Applying For An International Driving License
Wish to put your license to good use overseas? Think beautiful and breathtaking road trips!
Though most countries won’t require you to apply for an international driving license, it may be worthwhile to consider getting one if you wish to err on the side of caution.
Singapore’s Automobile Association is responsible for issuing international driving permits that cost $20 and are valid for one year.
You can either apply for the license online, which includes a $5 charge or make an application at one of the Automobile Centres in Singapore.
If not, you can also walk in to any one of the AA Centres below:
- 2 Kung Chong Road, #04-01, AA Center, Singapore 159140
- 535 Kallang Bahru, #01-08, GB Point, Singapore 339351
- 51 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 #02-02, [email protected], Singapore 569922