Yes, car ownership in Singapore is expensive, but that doesn’t mean you completely dismiss the idea of getting a driving licence.
After all, driving is an important life skill that you may find handy, especially when you’re holidaying (think driving down the coastal highways of Australia), or as a means of increasing your income (by being a private-hire driver, for instance).
Thankfully, getting a driving licence in Singapore is not too expensive — you can get one for between $1,400 to $2,800, or the price of an average year-end holiday. You can also choose to enrol into a driving school, of which there are 3 in Singapore: Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC); Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDCL); and ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC). If that’s not enough, there’s the option to book a private instructor to teach you how to drive.
Here’s what you need to know about how much it costs to get a driving licence in Singapore. We’ll split up the process into 4 steps, and will go through each of them as individually.
Average costs for step 1: Enrolment
|Name of Driving School||Enrolment Fee (Annual) + Extension Fee|
|BBDC||$96.30 + $8.03/mth|
|SSDCL||$174.09 + $58.85/6 mths|
|CDC||$171.20 + $64.20/6 mths|
|Private Instructors||Between $70 to $100|
The costs above are payable if you choose to attend a driving school. Each enrolment is valid for 12 months, although you may choose to extend your validity in blocks of 1 or 6 months, if you do not acquire your driving licence within 12 months of enrolment.
Private instructors also charge an enrolment fee for taking you on as a student. There are no fixed rates, but you can expect to pay between $70 to $100.
Average costs for step 2: Theory lessons and theory tests
|Name of Driving School||Theory Lessons (4 Lessons)||Theory Tests|
|BBDC||$17.12 x 4 = $68.48||Basic: $6.50
|SSDCL||Included in enrolment fees (Step 1)||Basic: $6.50
|CDC||Included in enrolment fees (Step 1)||Basic: $6.50
|Private Instructors||None required, self study||Basic: $6.50
Enrolling in a driving school will require you to attend lessons on driving theory, and you’ll be expected to pass at least the Basic Theory Test before you can proceed to take practical driving lessons properly.
Private candidates are not required to attend theory lessons, but it would be wise to study on your own before booking a test at one of the 3 driving schools. Passing with flying colours is always exciting.
As for the final theory test, you’ll need to pass that before you can move to take up the final driving test.
Average costs for step 3: Practical lessons
|Name of Driving School||Practical Lessons||Provisional Driving licence (PDL)|
|BBDC||$68.48 – $77.04 (100mins)||$25|
|SSDCL||$77.04 – $85.60 (120mins)||$25|
|CDC||$68.48 – $77.04 (100mins)||$25|
|Private Instructors||$35 – $50 (60mins)
Add: $58 for driving school circuit
Practical lessons are where you actually get into a car and learn how to operate it safely and properly. Private instructors offer cheaper lessons on a per-minute basis, but you’ll need to top up $58 each time to practice in a driving school.
Also, you’ll need to apply for a Provisional Driving licence (PDL) before you can legally practice driving in public areas such as car parks. If you do not have a PDL, you may only practice driving within the driving school grounds.
Average costs for step 4: Practical test and registration
|Name of Driving School||Practical Test (Traffic Police)||Vehicle Rental||Driving Licence Registration|
|BBDC||$33||$171.20 + $38.52 (warm-up)||$50|
|SSDCL||$33||$192.60 + $38.52 (warm-up)||$50|
|CDC||$33||$273.92 (includes one warm-up)||$50|
|Private Instructors||$33||See Above||$50|
When you’re finally ready to take your driving test, know that you’ll have to actually rent a test vehicle from a driving school along with the option for a warm-up session at BBDC or SSDCL. At CDC, the warm-up session is bundled together with the vehicle rental fee.
And, yes, this also means you’ll need to take your driving test at one of the registered driving centres located in Singapore. If you succeed, you’ll need to pay a further $50 for the registration of your actual driving licence.
Private instructors are cheaper than driving schools
|Steps To Getting A Licence||Private Instructors||Driving Schools|
|Enrolment||$70 – $100||$96.30 – $174.09|
|Theory Lessons and Tests||$13||$13 – $81.48|
|Practical Lessons||Average 20 lessons, with 5 school circuit lessons
$990 – $1,290
|Average 25 lessons
$1,737 – $2,165
|Practical Test and Registration||$292.72 – $356.92||$254.20 – $356.92|
|Total Average Cost||$1,365,20 – $1,759.92||$2,100.50 – $2,777.9|
Based on our research, the average cost of getting a driving licence in Singapore ranges from $1,365 to just shy of $2,800. There are, of course, many factors that affect the price you pay, and your final bill may be different.
However, there is one conclusion that seems to stand out — private driving instructors do seem to be much cheaper than driving schools, and there could be a few main factors for this:
- A private candidate may register for a driving test after 15 to 20 lessons whereas a school candidate needs to complete an average of 20 to 25 lessons. The fewer lessons you attend, the lesser you have to pay.
- Driving schools charge two prices for their lessons — peak and off-peak. Your circumstances may prevent you from going for cheaper off-peak lessons. Meanwhile, private instructors generally charge a flat fee.
- Driving schools have higher enrolment fees and charge for theory lessons. Private candidates do not have to attend theory lessons, and may self-study for the theory tests, saving some money in the process.
Does this mean cheaper private driving instructors are better for you? Well, not necessarily, as private candidates receive less instruction and practice time with their instructors, and may be more suited for those who are super self-motivated.
Private candidates also may have less opportunities to drive on practice circuits found at the schools, which is rumoured to be detrimental to passing the driving test on the first try.
Cost of getting your driving licence from a driving school
|Driving School||Address||Approximate Cost Of Driving License*|
|Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC)||815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5, Singapore 659085||$2,384|
|Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDCL)||2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4, Singapore 757387||$2,639|
|ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC)||205 Ubi Ave 4, Singapore 408805||$2,437|
– That you complete your driving license within 6 months.
– Pass your basic and advanced theory on the first attempt.
– Attend 10 practical lessons during off-peak timings.
– Attend 15 practical lessons during peak timings.
– Pass your practical test on the first attempt.
– Proceed to register for your driving license thereafter.
Driving schools, on the other hand, offer more thorough instruction and overall more practice time, including on driving circuits, which replicate conditions encountered during the driving test. They also offer a slew of support services such as extra practice sessions, e-learning modules and simulation sessions that some learners may find useful or advantageous.
If you’ve been putting your driving lesson plans on hold because of uncertainty on the budget required, now is the time to think it through and just go for it.
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By Alevin Chan
A Certified Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimize happiness and enjoyment in his life.