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Learning to drive and getting a driving licence in Singapore



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Thinking of learning to drive? Here’s a quick guide to help you decide on which driving lessons suit you and your budget. We wade in on the driving centre versus private lessons debate with a full breakdown of costs for both. We also give you a practical step-by-step guide on what you need to do to ace that driving test and get that coveted driving licence!

Be warned, however, acquiring a driving licence can be expensive in Singapore so make sure to read our insider tips on how to cut costs.

Here’s a guide to getting your driving licence and the costs of doing so

Before you get your licence, you will need to do the following:

1. Basic Theory Test

You will need to study for the basic theory test and book for it at one of the three driving centres in Singapore: Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC); Comfort Delgro Centre (CDC) and Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC). They are located at Woodlands, Ubi and Bukit Batok respectively. The test fee is $13.

2. Provisional Driving Licence

Once you’ve passed your Basic Theory Test (BTT), you need to go to the Traffic Police Test Centre with your test result to apply for a Provisional Driving Licence (PDL). Bring along your identity card. You need to pay $25 for the provisional driving licence.

3. Driving school vs private instructor

You now need to decide whether you would like to learn how to drive in a driving school or with a personal instructor.

Do note that learning to drive in a driving school is more expensive than with a personal instructor.

The enrolment fees for driving schools are higher than with a personal instructor. Expect to pay $165.85 for both theory and practical lessons at a driving school versus $96.30 for theory lessons and $50 for practical lessons with a private instructor. In addition, driving schools charge extension fees if you don’t pass within a year of enrolment.

Which to choose

Driving school

Pros

- Driving schools have a structured curriculum. This works well for those who prefer a more organised method of teaching

- Driving schools have the highest pass rates

Cons

- You will need to go for more classes than with a private instructor

- Costs more than with a private instructor

Private instructor

Pros

- You have more flexibility with regards to timing

- Saves travelling time. The instructor can pick you up at your home and drop you off after the lesson

- Cheaper fees

Cost of driving schools versus private instructors

The prices can be significantly different between the two. Here you can see an estimated cost breakdown of learning at a ComfortDelgro Centre (CDC)versus taking private lessons. All lessons are during non-peak hours and the driving test is taken on a weekday. The private lessons are clearly cheaper by almost $1,000. Take a look at this report compiled by independent consumer researchers, ValueChampion.

 

Driving school (CDC)

Private lessons

Enrolment Fees

S$165.85

S$96.30 + S$50

BTT & FTT

S$13

 

PDL

S$25

 

Practical Lessons

34 x S$68.48

25 x S$50 + 2 x S$58

(Note)

(3/3A syllabus: 31 sections and 12 test routes)

(2-hour sessions of S$25/hr and 2 circuit sessions; Private lessons require fewer sessions)

Practical Test

S$205.44

S$205.44

Driving Licence Application

S$50

 

Total Estimated Cost

S$2,787.61

S$1,792.74

Choosing a driving school

If you choose to take up lessons at a driving school, one way to save costs is to opt for weekday classes during mornings or afternoons if you are free at that time.

Also, try to pass your driving tests within six months of enrolment as this will help you save on additional enrolment fees and your provisional driving licence.

Below are the passing rates to help you in your decision-making.

The report from Singapore Traffic Police shows that Bukit Batok Driving Centre has a slightly higher percentage pass rate than Singapore Safety Driving Centre and Comfort Driving Centre. Although it is a close-run contest.

Passing Rate of Class 3 and 3A Practical Driving Test (1st Timer)

From May 2018 to Apr 2019

Driving Centre

Class 3 (1ST TIMER)

Total Tested

No. Passed

Passing %

S'pore Safety Driving Centre

3851

1872

48.6%

Bukit Batok Driving Centre

5460

3018

55.3%

Comfort Driving Centre

7009

3697

52.7%

Other Candidates

13527

5020

37.1%

Driving Centre

Class 3A (1ST TIMER)

Total Tested

No. Passed

Passing %

S'pore Safety Driving Centre

1972

1133

57.5%

Bukit Batok Driving Centre

4311

2696

62.5%

Comfort Driving Centre

4839

2993

61.9%

Other Candidates

8655

3763

43.5%

4. Final Theory Test

Once both you and your driving instructor are satisfied that you are on the road to driving competently, you can book the Final Theory Test (FTT). The test fee is $13.

5. The Practical Driving Test

Once you have passed both your Basic Theory Test and Final Theory Test, you are theoretically ready to take your practical driving test. However, your driving instructor will be best placed to inform you if you are indeed ready to take to the roads and make the booking for you.

The Practical Driving Test (PDT)will be conducted by a driving examiner, appointed by the Traffic Police. It consists of two parts. The first part tests your ability on the driving circuits while the second part of the test is held on the roads to gauge the way you interact with road users and your compliance with traffic rules and regulations.

Once you pass, you are no longer required to get a physical driving licence. The Traffic Police (TP) has stopped issuing physical driving licences unless requested by motorists.

Motorists are no longer required to surrender their physical licences if they do not have one.

Traffic Police can access this information using an individual's NRIC and date of birth.

Congratulations! You are now qualified to take your place behind the wheel of a car.

Final tip?

Pay less for your car insurance. Get a quick quote at Budget Direct Insurance and see how much you can save.

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