TRANSPORT buffs in Oxford are tired of pie in the sky ideas.

But civic society bosses say serious consideration should be given to a proposal for cable cars - otherwise known as gondola lifts - beating congestion on the Botley Road.

Last month city council leaders refused to back a Green group proposal for £25,000 to be spent on an aerial transport study, to look at innovations in low carbon, aerial urban public transport.

But Ian Green, chairman of Oxford Civic Society, said the decision was premature and added more thought needed to be given to the possible use of cable cars.

He said: “We are very much for looking at innovative modes of transport including cable cars and it is something the city and county councils could look at when a Joint Spatial Plan for Oxfordshire moves forward.

“Running cable cars from Seacourt into the city centre to relieve Botley Road is one possibility.”

The civic society’s transport planner Juliet Blackburn, who owns an actual river gondola, said gondola lifts could move up to 4,000 people per hour.

She added: “Gondola lifts have some huge advantages over road-building or road use re-designation, as they do not use any existing road space.

“In Oxford this would be especially welcome as existing roads will still be needed in the future for other modes of transport – whether cycles, autonomous cars or delivery vans.

“Gondola lifts take up very little land for their pylons and for their stations - these could even be on the roof of an existing building.”

She added that another benefit of the cable cars was that they used clean electricity and did not add to either air or noise pollution.

Ms Blackburn said the Botley Road cable car service could run from ‘the Seacourt park-and-ride, or from further out, straight into the Westgate Centre at first floor or rooftop level.

She added: “Another would serve the hospitals from Thornhill park-and-ride in the east.

“A city centre route would particularly reinforce Oxford’s image as a centre of innovation and technology, and very likely become a tourist attraction in its own right.”

Green city councillor Craig Simmons, who represents St Mary’s ward in East Oxford, said the council had been too quick to rule out the feasibility study.

He added: “I am pleased the civic society has backed a proposal for cable cars, or gondola lifts, to be investigated.

“We need to think in an innovative way about Oxford’s transport problems if we want low-polluting, low congestion options.

“Trams require more road space and would cost more than cable cars.

“There are a number of European cities including Barcelona where cable cars have worked well.”

Drivers faced disruption in Frideswide Square last night as roadworks continued.

The seven-week repair project started on February 11 but has been delayed by the bad weather.