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Getting a driver’s licence in Singapore? Should you go to a driving centre or get private lessons?

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Aspiring drivers in Singapore have a choice between the three main driving centres – Bukit Batok Driving Centre , ComfortDelGro Driving Centre , Singapore Safety Driving Centre – or to learn to drive with a private instructor.

When you’re aiming to get your Class 3 or 3A driving licence (for manual and automatic or automatic cars only respectively), is a driving centre or a private instructor the right choice for you?

Cost of driving school versus private instructors

If you’re shopping on price alone, the private driving instructor route is clearly cheaper. Comparing the estimated costs of learning at ComfortDelgro Driving Centre (CDC) with taking private lessons, the latter definitely looks less costly.

Driving school (CDC) Private lessons
Enrollment fee $176.55 $100
Induction programme $17.22
BTT & FTT $131 $131
PDL $251 $251
Practical lessons 29x $68.48 25x $66
Simulator training 3x $26.54 3x $26.542
Vehicular pre-operative check $ 23.54
Learner driver competency screening $55.64
Practical test $331 $331
Driver's license application fee $501 $501
Test vehicle & warmup fee $289.97
Total $2,749.36 $1,950

1-Fixed Traffic Police fees

2-Payment to a driving centre lesson prices are for off-peak hours

Private instructors also offer more flexibility in timing, and can pick you up from home, adding to the convenience.

Driving Centre Advantages

But there are some strong arguments in favour of the driving centres.

For a start, the centres are equipped to walk you through the whole process. Driving centres have a structured curriculum and take you from the very beginning of the process until your Practical Driving Test at the end.

Theory First

The different centres off differing options for preparing for the Basic and Advanced Theory Tests and with different results too. If you feel that the Theory Tests are going to be your biggest challenge, these statistics may help you make up your mind:



Clearly, Bukit Batok Driving Centre’s preparation for the Theory tests is more successful for a first-time pass than the other driving centres, as well as those choosing private lessons, represented by “Other Candidates” above.

Practical Matters

If, however, you are more concerned about your ability to pass the Practical Driving Test on your first try, then Comfort DelGro Driving Centre is probably your best choice:



Even for the minority who choose to take the Class 3 Practical Driving Test to drive manual and automatic cars have a higher first-time passing rate as Comfort DelGro Driving Centre learners, though the first-time pass-rate for Class 3 is slightly lower than Class 3A for all options:



Why learners at the driving centres have higher passing rates than learners with private instruction is open to debate. Are the instructors at the driving centres better at their jobs? Or is it simply that the private instructors generally recommend fewer practical lessons before attempting the Practical Driving Test? It is difficult to know for sure.


While private lessons appear cheaper than learning to drive through the three big driving centres, the lower passing rate for private learners may negate that advantage somewhat.

For flexibility and personalized attention, the private route may be right for you. But the higher success rate of learners at the driving centres is also a strong argument in their favour.

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