Driving school vs. private driving instructor: The costs to getting a driving licence in Singapore and which is the better option (Updated 2023)
5.5 min read
There’s no doubt that driving is an essential life skill. If you’ve been planning to get a driving licence or have already been attending classes, kudos to you for investing in yourself! In this blog post, we’re going to help you compare the costs of getting a driving licence in Singapore. And since there are two paths to learn driving — either at a driving school or with a private driving instructor — we’ll also talk about which is the better pick for you.
Ready? Let’s get going! 😛
Driving schools in Singapore
There are three driving schools in Singapore: ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC) in Ubi, Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC) in Woodlands, and Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) in Bukit Batok. All three driving schools offer class 3 and 3A licences, for both automatic and manual transmission cars.
If you’re going to a driving school, you’d ideally want to pick one closest to you so you can save on commute time and cost. But it’s also important to consider other factors like pricing and available time slots.
Generally speaking, there isn’t much difference in terms of fees across all three driving schools. All other procedures or tests that are conducted by the Traffic Police (TP) have standardised fees — even if you choose a private driving instructor. Let’s have a closer look at the fee structure in the table below.
Driving school course fees
|Enrolment (valid for 1 year)||$178.20 (incl. 4 practical & theory lessons)||$182.52 (incl. 4 theory lessons)||$97.20|
|Theory lessons (4 lessons)||-||-||$69.12|
|Theory practice session||-||-||$3.24|
|Theory evaluation||$6.48 to $7.56||$5.40||$5.40|
|Basic Theory Test (TP)||$6.50||$6.50||$6.50|
|Final Theory Test (TP)||$6.50||$6.50||$6.50|
|Practical Driving Test (TP)||$33||$33||$33|
|Fixed instructor fee||-||$8.64||-|
|Vehicle rental for practical test||$292.68 (incl. warm-up session from Mon to Sat)||$237.60||$216|
|Warm-up session (Mon to Sat)||$43.20||$38.88|
|Practical lesson (off-peak hour)||$69.12 (100 mins)||$72.36 (100 mins)||$69.12 (100 mins)|
|Practical lesson (peak hour)||$77.76 (100 mins)||$81 (100 mins)||$77.76 (100 mins)|
|Learner Driving Competency Screening (LDCS)||$56.16 to $60.48||-||-|
|Driving simulator lesson (per session)||$26.78||$24.16||$14.04|
|Vehicular pre-operative check||$23.76 to $28.08||-||-|
|Risk forecast training lesson||-||-||$22.68|
|Training vehicle conversion fee||-||$43.20||-|
|Course extension||$64.80 (per 6 months)||$59.40 (per 6 months)||$8.21 (per month)|
|Estimated total (without course extension)||$2,390.14 to 2,592.10||$2,408.04 to $2,624.04||$2,248.88 to $2,464.88|
If you’re wondering what these procedures or tests mean and how you can go about them, hop over to our guide on how to get a driving licence in Singapore.
Enrolment at driving schools
Both CDC and SSDC have included 4 classes in their enrolment fees, whereas BBDC’s charges for enrolment and classes are separate. And in the event that you can’t complete your driving course in a year, you’ll need to fork out more money to extend your course. BBDC may be a better option in this case as you’ll be allowed to do a monthly extension. Enrolment fees-wise, BBDC is the cheapest option — even when you add up 4 lessons.
Practical lessons at driving schools
If you’re opting to learn at a driving school, expect to follow a fixed syllabus and sit through a minimum number of classes before you can book your driving test. Practical lesson fees vary based on peak or off-peak hours as are shown in the table above.
Typically, you’ll need to attend about 20-25 lessons before you’re allowed to take the driving test.
Price-wise, CDC and BBDC offer better value for money, as all the driving schools offer only 100 minute lessons now — which means that you’re paying lower fees for the same amount of time. All in all, you may want to consider BBDC if you’re looking to save money yet still stand a high chance of passing.
Once you’ve passed your Practical Driving Test, you’ll need to pay $50 to obtain your driving licence.
How’s it different if you choose a private driving instructor?
Enrolment fee with a private driving instructor
There are many private driving instructors available in Singapore. In general, they charge you anywhere between $80 to $90 for enrolment into a driving school because you’ll still need to open an account and go through a driving school for your tests.
Practical lessons with a private driving instructor
While lesson fee varies from instructor to instructor, a private driving instructor would generally charge you about $38 to $60 per hour. Lessons are self-paced but because each lesson is only an hour, you may need to complete about 20 to 30 lessons before you can take the driving test.
We also suggest that you book the driving school’s test circuit a couple of times just to familiarise yourself with the place before your driving test.
Driving school vs. private instructor: A rough comparison of costs
|Driving school||Private instructor|
|Enrolment||$97.20||$80 to $90|
|Theory lessons||$69.12 (for 4 classes)||-|
|Practical lessons||$1,382.40 to $1,944 (for 20 to 25 classes)||$1,140 to $1,800 (for 30 hours of lessons)|
|Basic Theory Test||$6.50||$6.50|
|Final Theory Test||$6.50||$6.50|
|Practical Driving Test||$33||$33|
|Practical test vehicle rental||$216 to $292.68||$216 to $292.68|
|Estimated total||$1,860.72 to $2,499||$1,532 to $2,278.68|
When deciding between learning to drive at a driving school and with a private driving instructor, it’s always best to compare across various factors.
From the table above, you can see that learning with a private driving instructor is so much more cost-effective than learning at a driving school. But price isn’t the only factor that you should take into consideration.
For instance, a private instructor might be a better option if you’re confident with your driving skills but if you need closer guidance, you may want to go to a driving school instead.
Convenience and accessibility
All three driving schools have in-house test circuits, so you won’t have to worry about not having the access or enough time to practise. However, the downside is that you won’t be able to choose lesson timings that are convenient for you because driving schools have fixed schedules. This isn’t an issue with private driving instructors as they’re flexible with timings. Your private instructor will also be able to book the test circuit at a driving school for you.
Driving schools (except CDC which is located near the Central region) are generally not easy to get to for those who don’t live anywhere close to the North or West. If you’re a busy person and hardly have the time to make long commutes, it may be wise to learn with a private instructor instead — he or she will be able to meet at a location that’s convenient for the both of you.
Whether you choose to learn at a driving school or with a private instructor, once you pass the driving test, the #FreedomToDrive is all yours. So, there’s no point in rushing through or winging your course. We hope that you’ll weigh out all your options carefully and make the best choice for yourself. All the best!
(Featured photo: Private Driving Instructors Singapore)
Have a memorable drive!