Car rental in Singapore (2022), Lifestyle News


When my rusty car hit the big 10 last year, I decided it was simply too expensive to continue owning a car. It is, after all, a depreciating asset and I’m supposed to be MoneySmart… right? I haven’t been behind the wheel since, but perhaps now that I’ve discovered car sharing in Singapore, that might change.

Car sharing is basically the Obike/ofo of cars: You search for a nearby car, “unlock” it with a card or app, and drive it to your destination.

With a quick glance at the rates, car sharing seems like a godsend, especially for people whose driver’s licences do nothing but buy beer at 7-11. (shuffles feet guiltily)

Prices are advertised as just a couple of dollars per hour, but after doing some calculations and adding in hidden costs (subscription fees, registration fees, petrol, etc)… Lo and behold! It comes up almost comparable to steep Grab and taxi fares, and for those, you don’t even need to drive. Sian, looks like I’m sticking to the MRT.

To be fair, it’s worth it if you have a lot of barang or if you’re transporting difficult cargo (kids) and are going to multiple places within the time frame.

Here’s a price comparison of the 6 car sharing operators Car Club, Tribecar, Whizz Car, DriveLah, GetGo, and BlueSG offering hourly car rental in Singapore.

Car Rental Singapore (2022): GetGo is the cheapest

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All four operators have slightly different pricing systems, so I will compare the initial cash outlay and prices as a first-time user opting for the no- or lowest-commitment membership tier and the cheapest four-seater car available.

Let’s assume I want to book the car for 7pm to 9pm (two hours) on a Friday to drive about 30 km. The costs are going to be similar for two hours on Saturday or Sunday.










Car sharing operator Price for two hours Pricing breakdown  
Tribecar $45.82 $6.96 per hour + $2 weekend surcharge + petrol* $29.90
Car Club $130 Subscription deposit $100 (refundable) + car rental fee $18 + mileage fee $12
DriveLah Varies depending on choice of car, rental ranges from $40 to $200
BlueSG $51.20 $8 membership + $0.36 x 120 minutes
Whizz Car $98.67 Two hours $32.42 + mileage $6.45 + petrol $59.8  (Whizz-Ezzy Plan, Super Economy)
Getgo $24.50 Two hours $14 + mileage $10.50

*Tribecar petrol top-up calculation: 95-Octane fuel $2.99 x 10L (approximately ¼ tank)

Some things to note about car sharing:

  • Buffer a few days’ lead time before your membership is approved. Your driver’s licence and record need to be reviewed upon application and approved before you can book cars.
  • All operators cover their drivers with basic insurance.
  • Costs incurred for ERP and parking (non-designated lots) will be borne by you.
  • Different operators have “stations” and cars at different districts, so be sure to check that they’re in your area before you commit to a membership plan.
  • Most of the car sharing operators require a safety deposit during the period of your membership.
  • For more information on car sharing guidelines in Singapore, visit the Car Sharing Association of Singapore’s website.

TribeCar Singapore – best for off-peak hour driving










TribeCar
Subscription fee None
Insurance provided? Yes, $3,000 excess
Petrol included? No, but you don’t need to pump to a full tank (you just cannot return the car with an empty tank)
Car rental fee (per hour) $2.14 (super off-peak) / $4.82 (off-peak) / $6.96 (peak)
Cars in the fleet 950
Car sharing stations 750

Tribe Car step-by-step:

  1. Apply for membership online
  2. Reserve a car online
  3. Collect your car, unlocking it via web app.
  4. Drive around
  5. Return car to original parking site

TribeCar is the only car sharing operator with no subscription fee and no forced commitments. Everyone gets the same prices, which is great if you just need the car for a one-off thing.

Tribe Car claims to hate hidden charges and boasts rates from as low as $2.14/ hour and while it is pretty cheap, you can very quickly spend a lot if you need to cover a lot of mileage. It’s more suitable for those who need to hold on to the car for longer periods, but are actually only driving short distances.

This is because you must “top up fuel for your drive and return fuel at any level so long as the fuel light does not comes up”. For the above example, I calculated the price based on pumping quarter tank, but it really depends on your luck and how much fuel the previous driver left for you. I suppose this is fair, because it’s not TribeCar that’s extorting money from you – you’re literally paying for the fuel you use.

You are charged by the duration of rental, and the price depends on when your booking is.  Weekends and 5pm to 11pm are the most expensive periods (peak, whole day). Here’s the peak hour timing table:

Tribe Car peak hours:










  Mon to Thu Fri Sat and Sun
Midnight to 6am Super off-peak Super off-peak Peak
6am to 7am Off-peak Off-peak Peak
7am to 11am Peak Peak Peak
11am to 5pm Off-peak Off-peak Peak
5pm to 11pm Peak Peak Peak
11pm to midnight Off-peak Peak Peak

As you can see, it’s the cheapest to book a TribeCar if you need it past midnight on weekdays. But that’s not useful for much, except late night suppers and ladies’ night (but you shouldn’t be driving if you’re drinking).

Booking on TribeCar is slightly troublesome: First of all, you can’t just link your credit card to your account. Instead, you need to load credits into your account and use it pay for bookings (any amount is fine). Also, you cannot amend your bookings on the go; you will need to make a new booking and cancel the existing one.

At 950, TribeCar has the most number of shareable cars. You will also need to return your TribeCar to its original parking spot once you’re done, so no one-way trips.

Car Club Singapore – $100 cash deposit














Car Club
Subscription fee $100 deposit, $50 re-joining fee
Insurance provided? Yes, $3,000 excess
Petrol included? Yes, Esso & Shell only
Price plan – Basic Standard rental rates, pay per use
Price plan – Value Discounted rental rates, but must put in $50 credits each month  
Car rental fee (first hour) $10 (Basic) / $9 (Value)
Car rental fee (every 15 mins after) $2.50 (Basic) / $2.25 (Value)
Petrol mileage fee (per km) $0.40 (Basic) / $0.30 (Value)
Cars in the fleet 200+
Car sharing stations 110+

Car Club step-by-step:

  1. Apply for membership online (Basic, $100 deposit)
  2. Receive a smart pass for unlocking cars (via courier)
  3. Reserve a car online or via mobile app
  4. Collect your car and drive around
  5. Return car to original parking site

Car Club is the oldest, most established car sharing operator – they’ve been in the business since 1997 – and so it makes sense that they’re one of the most expensive. Car Club charges both by duration and mileage, which means you can’t save even if you don’t need to cover long distances.

However, you’ll need to pay a $100 registration deposit when you sign up. If you want to upgrade your Basic account to the Value price plan, you’ll need to request for an upgrade which will give you savings about 10 per cent to 25 per cent on rental and mileage costs. However, you will need to pre-pay $50 at the start of each cycle and use it for the month.

Any outstanding balance at the end of the month will be forfeited, so this only makes sense if you’re confident you’ll spend at least $50/month – looking at their prices, it shouldn’t be too hard if you’re making at least two or three trips monthly.

After the first hour, Car Club charges in blocks of 15 minutes which won’t be great if you’ll be stuck in the infamous CTE jams. There are over 110 stations and 200 cars in their fleet, which is quite decent compared to the rest.

DriveLah – newest car makes and models









DriveLah
Subscription fee $30/ month
Insurance provided? Yes, $3,000 excess
Petrol included? No, penalty of $4.50/ litre
Car rental fee Varies from $40 to $200+, set by car owners
Cars in the fleet 1,300+

DriveLah step-by-step:

  1. Create account online manually, scan license, NRIC, upload individually
  2. Find your preferred car online, make a booking 
  3. Car owner contacts you via your mobile phone
  4. Collect your car and drive around
  5. Pump petrol
  6. Return car to car owner

DriveLah is great for those of you who love chatting and getting to know your neighbours while looking for a quick ride. You’ll probably have to be pretty responsible in keeping the car clean, since it’s actually someone else’s personal car that you’ll be driving. So, this is not for you if you’re planning to drive your university OG out for a messy late night prata and ECP trip. Prices vary depending on the car you choose, the number of hours, weeks, months you need the car for, and petrol.

There is only 1 membership tier, and subscription fees is $30 per month.

Compared to other car rental operators, DriveLah’s sign up process is pretty troublesome since it requires you to upload all your documents manually (vs syncing with SingPass). Since these are all personal cars, you can expect cars to be cleaner and better serviced condition.

If you enjoy cars, you’ll be treated to newer makes such as the BMW 5 Series, Mercs GLB, Audi A3, Toyota Harrier, Nissan Qashqai, Volvo XC40, and Mazda CX series. From personal experience, you’ll want to prepare an additional $100 cash to book a AAA tow truck if you’re going for the Volkswagens and Fords… just saying.

ALSO READ: 7 facts you need to know about car rental insurance in Singapore

BlueSG – electric cars only, so no petrol needed











BlueSG
Subscription fee $8 Basic, $18 Premium
Insurance provided? Yes, $5,000 excess
Petrol included? All BlueSG cars are electric, so there is no need for petrol.  
Price plan – Basic $8 per month, rental $0.36 per min
Price plan – Premium $18 per month (min. 6 months), rental $0.36 per min
Cars in the fleet 667
Charging points 1,500

BlueSG step-by-step:

  1. Apply for membership online or via mobile app
  2. Link account to credit card to unlock car
  3. Reserve a car online or via mobile app
  4. Unplug and collect your car
  5. Drive around, book a BlueSG parking lot
  6. Return car to any BlueSG parking site

BlueSG has perhaps the most unique concept – they have a full fleet of electric cars for sharing. This means that the cars are charged at their designated lots, so you don’t have to worry about or fuss over petrol.

You may think this translates to savings in petrol, but that’s not really the case – the all-in rental fees used to be quite steep at $0.50 a minute a couple of years back, was then reduced to $0.33 a minute, and back up to the current $0.36 a minute.

If you intend to go for BlueSG, you should consider the 6-month Premium membership, which gives you 45 mins free monthly (equivalent to $16.20).

BlueSG is one of few operators that allows you to pickup and drop-off your car at any of designated parking site, and for short bookings under three hours (no traffic jams), BlueSG may be the most cost-efficient option.

Whizz Car – most expensive car rental













Whizz Car Standard Plan (min. 12 months) Whizzy-Ezzy Plan
Subscription fee $10.70 per month, $107 registration, $100 deposit None
Insurance provided? Yes, $3,000 excess Yes, $3,000 excess
Petrol included? Yes, top-up to 1/2 tank minimum
Price plan Discounted rates, but there is a one-time $107 registration fee + $10.70/ month subscription fee + minimum 1-year commitment Standard rental rates, pay per use ($107 registration fees apply, but no subscription fees, and no membership commitment period)
Car rental fee (first hour) $13 $16.90
Car rental fee (after first hour, in blocks of 30 mins) $5.97 $7.76
Mileage fee Limited free mileage per booking (1st hour: 10km free, subsequent 30 mins: 5km free). Anything beyond that is  $0.43 per km (all price plans).
Cars in the fleet 131
Car sharing stations 56

Whizz Car step-by-step:

  1. Apply for membership online (Plans: Individual, Whizzy-Ezzy or Corporate)
  2. Receive a key fob for unlocking cars
  3. Reserve a car online or via phone call
  4. Collect your car and drive around
  5. Top up petrol to at least half tank (using Speedpass attached to the keys, no payment needed)
  6. Return car to original parking site

There are two membership plans for Whizz Car – Standard, Extra Value (highest commitment), and Whizzy-Ezzy. The Standard plan is a premium annual membership that entitles you to discounted rates. However, unless you intend to rent the cars VERY OFTEN, you’re not likely to get enough bang for your buck. There’s a one-time $107 registration fee, $10.70 monthly (that’s $128.40 per year).

If you’re just trying it out and don’t want any commitments, go for the Whizzy-Ezzy membership. There’s no subscription fee, and no minimum commitment period. However, you pay more for the car rentals.

Unfortunately, Whizz Car is the most expensive because they even the “super economy” class of cars (under 1.4L) which are supposed to be priced more affordably are going to cost you a bomb. Prices increase astronomically for the “economy” tiers which typically feature car models which are 1.6L to under 2L.

For the super-economy class for cars (Whizzy-Ezzy membership), it’s $13 for the first hour, and $5.97 for every subsequent ½ hour ($11.94/ hour). For the first hour you are entitled to 10km free mileage, and 5km for each subsequent ½ hour. You’re charged $0.43/ km if you exceed that.

Because you need to collect and return the car at the same Whizz Car parking site (there are about 50+ of them), it’s more suitable for return trips and not one-way trips. Additionally, Whizz Car has one of the fewest cars (131) and stations (56), so make sure to check that they have designated cars in your area before you commit to anything.

ALSO READ: Comparing GetGo against the car-sharing competition

GetGo











GetGo
Subscription fee None
Insurance provided? Yes, $6,420 excess
Petrol included? Yes
Car rental fee (per hour) $3-7 (Economy) / $3-9 (Standard) / $6-12 (Premium)
Mileage fee $0.35 per km
Cars in the fleet 700
Car sharing stations 650

GetGo step-by-step:

  1. Create account on mobile app
  2. Find your preferred car online, make a booking 
  3. Unlock car with your mobile app
  4. Lock car with app, drive around
  5. Unlock car with app, go walk walk, drive back
  6. Return car to original parking lot, end trip on mobile app

GetGo peak hours:








  Weekdays Weekends & Public Holidays
Midnight to 5.59am Off-peak Off-peak
6am to 8.59am Off-peak Normal
9am to 5.59pm Normal Peak
6pm to 11.59pm Peak Peak

GetGo is great if you are making a short trip to the Ikea near your house to buy small furnitures, or just going to a shopping mall nearby to pick up a bunch of heavy groceries. They charge by time and petrol mileage, which can easily add up to $15 for a return lunchtime trip to a nearby mall.

It makes sense if you were going to Grab anyway, but want to avoid Grab’s crazy surge $30+ prices. The best part about GetGo is accessibility. Most of the cars have dedicated parking lots and are positioned at HDB carparks. However, you have to return your GetGo rental car to its original parking lot, which means it only makes sense if you were coming home right after your trip out anyway.

Personal experiences with GetGo have been good. Do make use of their promos and referral codes. Their cars are generally clean (a lot cleaner than BlueSG… where I’ve seen used condoms and tissue paper before). GetGo’s Mazda 3 fleet is reliable. The Toyota Sientas are great for rusty drivers since they can’t go fast anyway. The Ssangyong Tivolis are… not the smoothest kid on the block.

This article was first published in MoneySmart.



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