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Cost of Driving License in Singapore

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  • Queen of sgForums
    驚世駭俗醜不啦嘰 moderatress
    FireIce's Avatar
    265,644 posts since Dec '99
    • Cost of Driving License in Singapore – Are You Spending Too Much?


      If you can afford to cab everywhere, or have no shame about asking for a lift from family, friends and colleagues, you’re either filthy rich or my girlfriend. She has no plans to get a driving license. She’d rather rely on our world-class transportation system. You know, the one with so many breakdowns SMRT and SBS have started writing blank cheques for the inevitable annual fine from LTA. But if we’re going to be objective, being able to drive is an important skill in Singapore. Even if you can’t afford to buy one, you can lease a car to avoid feeling like a canned sardine on your morning commute.

      So, if you’re 18 and above, physically and mentally fit, and have no major problems with your eye-sight or with colour-blindness, then it’s a good idea to apply for your driving license. But should you go with a driving school or a private driving instructor? We weigh the costs.

      (Note: This comparison only refers to the costs of a Class 3/3A driving license.)


      1. Registration

      Enrolment fees at a driving school should set you back by $96.30. This is regardless of which driving school you’re under and valid only for a year.

      There are three driving schools in Singapore. Singapore Safety Driving Centre(SSDCL) is in Woodlands, ComfortDelGro Driving Centre is in Ubi and Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) is (surprise, surprise) in Bukit Batok. Ideally, you would want to pick a school that is most convenient for you in terms of distance, but there may be other factors (like pricing and passing rate) that may affect your decision.

      If you don’t have the time or the dedication to rush through all your lessons within the span of a year, you will end up paying more. The rates are as follows:

      School Course Extension Fee SSDCL – Woodlands $48.15 (for 6 months) CDC – Ubi $53.50 (for 6 months) BBDC – Bukit Batok $8.03 (for 1 month)


      Enrolment fees for a private instructor should set you back by $50-$60 depending on the instructor. The difference in the fees is because driving schools tend to have higher overheads, which they pass on to you, the customer.

      Whether you choose to learn via a driving school or a private instructor, you will still need to open an account at the driving school. This is because you will be taking the driving theory tests through the school.


      2. Theory Lessons

      If you have enrolled with the driving school, you will need to pay for theory lessons together with your enrolment fee. This is before you can apply to take the Basic Theory Test and Final Theory Test. How much you pay depends on whether you’ve taken and passed either these Tests before. In the case of a total newcomer to driving, the fees are as follows:

      School Theory Lesson Fees SSDCL – Woodlands $69.55 (for 4 classes) CDC – Ubi $69.55 (for 4 classes) BBDC – Bukit Batok $17.12 (for 1 class), $68.48 (for 4 classes)


      After you’ve gone through the lessons – which can be done online, thank goodness – you can apply for the Basic Theory Test. The test fee has recently been increased to $6.50. Once you’ve passed the Basic Theory Test, you will be eligible to apply for your Provisional Driving License (PDL). You will need to pay $25 for the PDL, which is valid for 6 months. This means you can start driving!

      In the meantime, you can also apply for your Final Theory Test. The test fee has recently been increased to $6.50. You will need to have passed your Final Theory Test before you can book a date for your Practical Driving Test.

      If you’re learning via a private instructor, you technically don’t need to go through any lessons and can just go straight for the theory tests. However, you should probably just go for one or two theory trial tests before your official test date. These trial tests will help you get the hang of the test system and, if your memory is good enough, you’ll notice the same questions will come out in the actual test.

      Now, for the main costs in learning to drive – the practical lessons.


      3. School Lessons

      Driving schools have a fixed syllabus that they follow, and sometimes have a minimum number of lessons that a student MUST take before you’ll be allowed to book your driving test. Lesson fees fall under two categories – peak and off-peak.

      School Practical Lesson Fees SSDCL – Woodlands $77.04 – $85.60 per 120 minute class CDC – Ubi $68.48 – $77.04 per 100 minute class BBDC – Bukit Batok $68.48 – $77.04 per 100 minute class


      In general, you will need about 20-25 lessons at least to complete the syllabus. How quickly you learn is of course dependent on you and the instructor. When learning at a driving school, your instructor may not be fixed. Some schools, like SSDCL, charge an extra fee of $8.56 per session if you want to request for a specific instructor.


      4. Private Lessons

      With hundreds of private driving instructors across the island, you’re spoilt for choice. There are those who advertise online and those who rely on word of mouth to get customers. There are also those who have the time to take over a hundred students, which could mean that they’re more experienced.

      In general, you can expect private driving instructors to charge $25-$35 per hour. You learn at your own pace, but you would still need about 20-30 lessons (since the lessons are per hour) before you’re ready for the test. Also, it’s definitely a good idea to book a warm up session or two in the driving centre’s test circuit. That way, you’ll get used to the circuit ahead of the practical test.


      5. The Traffic Police Practical Driving Test

      Once you have passed your Final Theory Test and completed your lessons, you can book a date for your practical driving test. The test will now cost you $33. That fee’s just to take the test. You will also need to pay for the test vehicle rental and a “warm-up” session prior to test itself. The fees are as follows:

      School Practical Test Vehicle Rental Fees SSDCL – Woodlands $160.50 + $35.31 (warm up fee) = $195.81 CDC – Ubi $231.12 (price includes warm up fee) BBDC – Bukit Batok $171.20 + $38.52 (warm up fee) = $209.72


      If you pass, congratulations! You now have to pay a fee of $50 when you apply for your driving license. We hope it was worth it!


      6. The Big Question – Getting your Driving License from a Driving School or a Private Driving Instructor?

      If it’s solely about the cost alone, then there’s no contest, really. Private driving instructors aren’t obliged to strictly follow a syllabus so the pace of the lessons depend on how quickly you pick up the skills. So if you’re confident about your driving ability, it might be more prudent to sign up with a private driving instructor. Based on the cost of practical lessons alone, you could save $700 or more by going with a private driving instructor instead of a driving school.

      When it comes to convenience, both driving schools and private driving instructors have pros and cons. Driving schools have all the necessary facilities in-house, so if you need more time on the test circuit you won’t be charged extra, unlike if you were under a private driving instructor. On the other hand, a private driving instructor should be able to arrange for lessons that suit your busy schedule, unlike a driving school that has very inflexible lesson times.

      So, if you’re a busy person with very little time to spare, or if you’re confident about your driving skills and the speed that you’ll learn, you’ll definitely save more by going with a private driving instructor.

      Otherwise, a driving school might be the more expensive, but also more appropriate option. After all, the point is to pass your driving test. There’s no point breezing through the lessons and rushing to take your test if you end up failing. Failing your driving test simply means spending more money in your attempt to earn your driving license.

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