The Cost of Getting a Driving Licence in Singapore

Car Guides    Donovan

Bukit Batok Driving Centre BBDC(Photo Credit: Straits Times)

You have just turned 18, and you are both physically and mentally fit with no vision impairment. You are also sick of public transport, and you have decided it’s a good idea to get a driving licence.

Since our office is located in Ubi, directly down the road from the ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC), we often see plenty of cars with the ‘L’ sign driving around. Watching them on the road is a scary thought, given that it is an industrial area with plenty of heavy traffic, and the fact that it costs a bomb to get a driving licence in Singapore.

The choice of choosing between learning how to drive an Automatic (Class 3A) and Manual (Class 3) is entirely up to you. The simple fact is, learning how to drive a Manual car is much harder (as anyone who did it can tell you) than an Automatic car. However, with a Class 3 licence, you can drive both Automatic and Manual cars, whereas with a Class 3A licence, you can only drive the former.


Theory and Enrolment

Before you even get the choice between the two, you need to at least settle your Basic Theory Test (BTT) to get your Provisional Driving Licence (PDL). Regardless of whether you are going to be a school or private learner, you will need to go to a driving school to complete your online theory lessons and test.

The choice of driving school, ideally, should be whichever is most convenient for you. There are three driving schools in Singapore, Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDCL) in Woodlands, CDC in Ubi, and Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) in Bukit Batok.

For those who want to take their practical lessons privately, you only need to worry about a fee of S$6.50 for the BTT and Final Theory Test (FTT) each. For those who want to take their practical lessons with the school, there will be an S$96.30 enrolment fee on top of the test fees.

The school enrolment fee will be valid for one year, so if you take longer than that to pass, you will need to pay more. The fees for each school are as follows:

Driving School

Course Extension Fee

SSDCL

$48.15 (for six months)

CDC

$53.50 (for six months)

BBDC

$8.03 (for one month)

For private learners, the enrolment fee will differ from instructor to instructor. According to our experience, it might cost around S$70 to $80.

Back to the theory test, the cost of the online theory lessons are as follows (it can differ on whether it is your first attempt at the theory test):

Driving School

Theory Lesson Fees

SSDCL

$69.55 (for 4 classes)

CDC

$69.55 (for 4 classes)

BBDC

$17.12 (for 1 class), $68.48 (for 4 classes)

The passing percentage for both the BTT and FTT is 90% (45/50 and above). Once you have passed your BTT, you will be able to apply for your Provisional Driving License (PDL) online here. It will be valid for two years, and you will need to pay S$25 for it. This PDL means you can start taking driving lessons.

In the meantime, you can also apply to take your FTT. The test fee has recently been increased to $6.50. You will need to have passed your FTT before you can book a date for your Practical Driving Test. Your FTT will be valid for two years. During this time, you will need to take your practical test and pass before it expires, or else you will need to retake your FTT again.

Our advice is to take the BTT and FTT back-to-back. That way, you can get your theory out of the way to focus on your practical driving lessons. Two years validity for your FTT is a long time, so it is highly recommended you do that, especially if you are planning to take at least one driving lesson a week.

If you’re learning via a Private Driving Instructor (PDI), you don’t actually need to do any theory lessons. Instead, you can take the theory tests anytime you want. However, you are recommended to go for at least one or two theory trial tests before your official test date. These trial tests will help you get used to the system. If your memory is good enough, you will also notice remarkably similar questions in the actual test.


Practical Driving Lessons

Driving school instructors have a fixed syllabus that they must follow. There is also a minimum number of lessons a student is required to take before being allowed to book a driving test (TP). Lesson fees fall under two categories – peak and off-peak.

Driving School

Practical Lesson Fees

SSDCL

$77.04 (off-peak), $85.60 (peak) for a 120-minute lesson

CDC

$68.48 (off-peak), $77.04 (peak) for a 100-minute lesson

BBDC

$68.48 (off-peak), $77.04 (peak) for a 100-minute lesson

Generally, you are required to take around 20 to 25 lessons to complete the syllabus. How quickly you learn is on you and the instructor. When learning at a driving school, you will be rotated between three to four instructors. Some schools, like SSDCL, charge an extra fee of $8.56 per session if you want to request for a specific instructor.

The reason why a lot of people recommend finding a PDI is because you will just have one instructor to monitor and keep track of your progress lesson by lesson.

With hundreds of PDIs out there, it is hard to choose one. Traditionally, they are recommende through word-of-mouth. If you are a student, there is a good chance one of your peers or family members will be able to recommend you a good PDI, or steer you away from a supposedly bad one.

In general, different PDIs charge differently, but private students who have been at it for a while can tell you that prices have been steadily rising. In our office, there are two PDI students. One is currently learning with an Automatic car, and the other just passed his TP a few days ago with a Manual car. Both of them say they were charged around S$60 for 90-minute lessons, which works out to about S$40 an hour.

With PDIs, you learn at your own speed, but you would still need around 20 lessons, more or less, before taking the TP test. In the last few lessons before your TP, you should be doing a few rounds at a driving centre’s test circuit. Depending on the school, that would cost around S$30 to S$35.


Practical Driving Test (TP)

So, the big day is approaching. You have passed your FTT, took your photo under supervision at the driving school for around S$6 we believe, and have a test date booked.

That test booking would have cost S$33. But that is just a administrative fee to book a test. You will also need to pay for the test vehicle rental, insurance, and warm up session prior to test itself. For school learners, the fees are as follows:

Driving School

Practical Test Vehicle Rental Fees

SSDCL

$206.51

CDC

$252.52

BBDC

$209.72

For private learners, it varies once again. Our colleague that just passed his TP told us that the cost of the test day was S$435 for him. $320 for the use of the car during the test (insurance and so on), $80 for the warm up, and $35 for the use of the driving circuit (CDC).


Pass or Fail

If you passed, congratulations! You would need to watch a safety video immediately after passing and get your result slip endorsed by an employee of the driving school. After which, you can go here to apply for a Qualified Driving Licence (QDL) online. The application of the QDL will cost you $50.

For private learners, please note that they are required to terminate their school membership upon passing. This is especially important for those who still have money inside their account that they would like back. The amount left in your account will be refunded and mailed to you by cheque, approximately 4-6 weeks upon termination.

If you failed, well then, bad luck. You will need to take a few more lessons, as many as your driving instructor deems necessary before you can book another test and go through the whole procedure again. If you are planning to book a test date that is after your FTT expires, you will need to retake it.

Below is our rough final breakdown of the costs:

Driving School

Private Driving Instructor

Enrolment

S$96.30

S$70 to S$80

Driving Lessons (Theory)

S$69.55 (for 4 classes)

Basic Theory Test

S$6.50

$6.50

Final Theory Test

S$6.50

$6.50

Provisional Driving Licence

S$25

S$25

Driving Lessons

From S$1,400 to S$1,900 (for 20 to 25 classes)

From S$1,000 to $1,400 (for 25 to 35 hours of lessons)

Photograph for Driving Licence

S$6

S$6

Practical Driving Test

S$33

S$33

Practical Test Car Rental

S$195.81 to S$231.12

From S$380-S$450

Driving License Fee

S$50

S$50

ESTIMATED TOTAL

$1888 to $2424

$1577 to $2057


From all of us here at Motorist.sg, we wish those taking driving lessons all the best, and we hope to see you driving safely on the roads soon!

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1 Comment

Andre

useful guide! but i'm still unsure if i should spend that much money just for a license.. 🤔

Like Reply 12 days ago
Donovan

Think of it as an investment into your future Andre! Don't forget, driving is a life skill every physically and mentally fit adult should possess, and even if you don't plan on owning a car, you would never know when you might need to drive a car in the event of an emergency!

Like 12 days ago